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Monday, March 31st 2014

Mississippi Fire Ant
(Southern Prohibition Brewing)

Mississippi Fire Ant is one of four canned releases from Southern Prohibition Brewing in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. You've got to love the design on this can which is a reminscent of an old school horror movie poster with a giant ant dragging a scantily clad woman into a hole. Definitely one of the more inventive designs out there, so of course we're big fans. When it comes to what's inside the can, well we're big fans of that as well!

From the Southern Prohibition Brewing site:


"This imperial red ale has a huge malt presence only to be out shined by its hop additions. Dark mahogany red with a nice fluffy head, Fire Ant showcases roasted and toasted caramel notes layered between spicy, herbal and fruity hops."


Here we go...


Pour - dark auburn in appearance with a solid half inch or more of off-white head on top. There are some nice reddish hues when held toward the light. This just looks like a big, full-flavored brew!


Aroma - brown sugar coated hops is the first thing that come to mind. Plenty of piney and sweet orange hop aromas mix with the huge amounts of malt that went into this 8% brew. A few more whiffs and caramel apples come to mind. Time to tuck into this...


Taste - one sip and you know this is a bigger beer. Loads of malt sweetness grabs the tongue and a hop presence develops and smacks your tongue around quite a bit. There are some darker fruit flavors in the background as well as some sweet citrus. This ant has some weight and it shows. 


Overall - anymore than two rounds with the Fire Ant and we may be headed for an early TKO. A great night cap or a perfect brew to enjoy a few with a friend. Definitely worth checking out, as are all the beers from this Mississippi brewery. 


Note -  fire ants are considered an invasive species in the US and are native to South America. For humans, bites from fire ants produce a painful sting, a sensation similar to what one feels when burned by fire—hence the name fire ant—and the after effects of the sting can be deadly to sensitive people.



Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Mississippi Fire Ant
Style: American Amber/Red Ale
Brewery: Southern Prohibition Brewing
City: 
Hattiesburg, Mississippi  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 8.0%
IBUs: 80
Date: March 31st, 2014

Posted by Russ


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Thursday, March 13th 2014

2020 IPA
(Golden Road Brewing)

2020 IPA is Golden Road Brewing's fourth release in their Custom IPA Series. I'm sure we speak for all of the hopheads out there when we say, "keep 'em coming". This LA brewery has done a fantastic job with these seasonal IPAs and we'd love to see them expand the series and bring on a few more varieties of the most popular style of craft beer in America. Cheers!

 

From the Golden Road Brewing site:


"For the Spring 2014 Release in our Custom IPA Series we’ve partnered with the LA River Revitalization Corp to brew 2020 IPA—a dark red IPA, with a rich pine aroma, light roast, all balanced by a hearty hop bitterness.  2020 IPA celebrates the Greenway 2020 Project, which will connect 51 miles of the LA River—transforming it from a neglected, concrete riverbed to a connected, public green space by the year 2020."

 

Here we go...


Pour - pours a dark amber with plenty of reddish highlights and hues and a great looking inch of off-white head on top. The grains used really give this beer a great look when out of the can and into a glass.


Aroma - resiny, sticky hoppy goodness combines with a solid amount of malt sweetness - has a faint aroma of sweet Hawaiian bread. Love the deep citrusy notes, blood oranges and ruby red grapefruit. 


Taste - the first sip brings a mouthful of maltiness and hoppiness fighting for supremacy. Ultimately the hops are the victor and wave of cirtrusy and pine floods the palate. The bready, toasty malt flavors provide this IPA with some distinct character while the hops remind us that this one comes from Southern California. 


Overall - there may not be a Red IPA category but if there was this would be an excellent example of the style. This is a very well-balanced beer with a solid malt backbone but evened out by an aggressive hoppiness. We really enjoyed this one and look forward to whatever comes next from Golden Road. 


Note -  Golden Road Brewing's Custom IPA Series so far includes four different beers to correspond with the four seasons. They include Heal the Bay IPA, Burning Bush IPA (a smoked IPA which we found amazing), Better Weather IPA, and now 2020 IPA. 



Hops Scale:
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Can Scale:
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2020 IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Golden Road Brewing
City: 
Los Angeles, California  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: 2-Row, Crystal 77
Hops: Warrior, Palisade, Cascade, Chinook, Simcoe, Ahtanum
ABV: 7.4%
IBUs: 74
Date: March 13th, 2014

Posted by Russ


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Wednesday, January 15th 2014

Roughtail IPA
(Roughtail Brewing Company)

Roughtail IPA is one of three beers that Roughtail Brewing is currently canning. This Oklahoma brewery opened its doors last year and has since been brewing up some very well-received beers. We definitely dig their can designs and are looking forward to our first tastes of their beers! Cheers!


From the Roughtail Brewing site:


"Our flagship IPA is brewed to kick your taste buds in the ass and leave your palate begging for mercy. Pine, resin, and citrus aromas leap out of the glass. The extreme bitterness hits next, to give you your fix. The finish is dry, clean, and leaves you wanting more. We put a crazy amount of hops into this beer just for you, fellow hop heads. Enjoy."


Here we go...


Pour - darker amber in color with some suspended yeast and a fluffy inch of head on top. Lacing inside the glass is pretty impressive with this beer. Wow. Okay, let's do this.


Aroma - wow, talk about a huge amount of fresh hop aroma streaming out of the can! You can almost taste it. Loads of pine, oranges, pineapple, and other tropical smells that are just fantastic. 


Taste - one taste and the IBUs are at work. The palate really gets a hop workout almost immediately. This is sticky, resiny, and chewy with an absolute ton of bitter hoppy goodness that will have you licking your teeth. Very balanced with a solid malt backbone, this almost drinks like a bigger beer than it is. 


Overall - these guys aren't messing around when it comes to making an IPA for IPA lovers. This is a very solid example of the most popular style of craft beer in America and it shouldn't get lost in the crowd. With an absolute train load of hop aroma and flavor Roughtail IPA hits all the marks. If you favor beers that are of the hoppy persuasion than this one is certainly worthy of your wishlist. 


Note - Roughtail Brewing takes its name from the rought-tailed gecko which although not native, can now be found in Texas and the American Southwest. The brewery's founders felt that reptile's look and demeanor embodied what their brewing style was all about. 


Roughtail IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Roughtail Brewing Company
City: 
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Columbus, Nugget, Summit
ABV: 7.0%
IBUs: 80
Date: January 15th, 2014

Posted by Russ


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Thursday, January 2nd 2014

River North White
(River North Brewery)

Our first review of 2014! With the impending snow storm headed this way it seems fitting to start the year off with River North Brewery's White. River North is located in Denver, Colorado and their White is the first of their beers to be canned. It was actually one of an astounding 70+ different canned craft beers to come out of Colorado in 2013 - the total from the state is now hovering close to 200! Here's to another great year of beer in 2014! Cheers!

From the River North Brewery site:

“This crisp Belgian-style wit has a subtle spicy, citrus aroma and a delicate, dry finish. Sessionable and refreshing, this represents the evolution of the traditional Belgian-style wheat beer.”

Here we go...


Pour - light straw-colored in appearance with a ghosty white half inch of foam on top. Very clean pour with great carbonation. 


Aroma - plenty of coriander and yeasty spiciness coming from my glass. There are some slight hints of citrus and ground white pepper. A very aromatic brew that smells spot on for the style. 


Taste - one sip and the palate is inundated with the familiar spices that come together so nicely in this particular style of beer. A nice balance of the uniqueness of coriander with a dash of malty sweetness, faint hints of vanilla and oranges, and a dry, lip smacking finish. 


Overall - this style may have become associated with warmer weather but I'd have to say that the spiciness and flavors of a good witbier go just fine with a cold winter evening. River North's White is a crisp, clean tasting wit with plenty of flavor without being sweet like some versions of the style we've come across. This is a great tasting beer that we feel lucky to have had the chance to put in our glass. Cheers to all the folks at River North and all the best in the coming year!


Note -  the name River North is a reference to the River North Art District (or RiNo) just north of Downtown Denver. Along with River North Brewery, the area is also home to Black Shirt Brewing Company (which will begin canning soon) and The Infinite Monkey Theorem - one of the very first urban wineries in the country to can their wines. 

 


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
North River White
Style: Witbier
Brewery: River North Brewery
City: 
Denver, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.0%
IBUs: 20
Date: January 2nd, 2014

Posted by Russ


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Wednesday, July 3rd 2013

Ethos IPA
(Tallgrass Brewing Company)

The versatility of the American IPA never ceases to amaze us. Brewers continue to concoct new ways to brew this popular style and as consumers we are continuously rewarded. Ethos IPA, the newest canned release from Tallgrass Brewing Company, is double dry-hopped and brewed with six different types of hops. It rocks an incredible 110 IBUs and comes in at a manageable 6.8%. We've been hearing a lot of great things about this beer and are very much looking forward to trying it out for ourselves! Cheers!

From the Tallgrass site:


"The beer foretold in legend. Six types of hops are gathered from the corners of the world to make this legendary brew. This is no earthly IPA. They will write ballads, build monuments, paint caves, and sacrifice goats to this beer. They will drink Ethos and dance to shake the heavens. The aroma is the harbinger of the tastes to come. Big, bright, and beautiful, this beer exceeds all expectations and grants wishes. Twice dry-hopped and brewed with the aid of a dark alliance from another realm, this beer bestows upon you all the complexity of the hops' flavors without overwhelming your senses. Ethos IPA is a gift to you, beer mortals. Drink it and fulfill your destiny."

 

Here we go...


Pour - bright orange to golden amber in appearnance with an inch of off-white head on top. Carbonation looks good. A nice clean pour.


Aroma - wow. Loads of tropical fruit aromas and piney, resiny, hops start immediately start assaulting the senses. We could sit here and bask in the aromatic glory of this beer for hours OR we could dive in and see how all those aromas translate on the palate.


Taste - one sip brings a smile to our faces. The big tropical flavors from the hop bill are just amazing. They combine with grapefruit and pine as well as a solid malt backbone to produce an outstanding American IPA. Ethos is juicy, thirst quenching, flavorful, and is heavy on the hops. Even at 110 IBUs, this is not a one-side hop bomb. Its balanced with the malty sweetness playing nicely with the flavors of mangos, pineapple, and passionfruit. 


Overall - The double dry-hopping does wonders for the overall experience, providing a ton of hop aroma. This is one of the most aromatic and flavorful IPAs we've had. Certainly a winner from Tallgrass and an IPA we hope to find more of soon! 

 

Note - Tallgrass has made some memorable videos in the past that have coincided with their launch of new beers. Ethos is certainly no exception. Check out the video below:

 




Hops Scale:
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Can Scale:
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Ethos IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Tallgrass Brewing Company
City: 
Manhattan, Kansas  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.8%
IBUs: 110
Date: July 3rd, 2013

Posted by Russ


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Friday, May 31st 2013

Kentucky IPA
(Alltech's Lexington Brewing Co.)

A brand new beer from Alltech's Lexington Brewing Company (also known as Kentucky Ale), Kentucky IPA is also their first canned release - and the first craft beer in a pint can in Kentucky. Until now the brewery was not packaging an IPA (or a Pale Ale) so this is a smart addition for sure. They also have plans to can their Kentucky Kölsch, formerly known as Kentucky Light. 

From the Alltech's Lexington Brewing Company site:

"Kentucky IPA™ is a deliciously hoppy, golden-hued American IPA. It has bright citrus flavors and sweet floral aromas which come from liberal dry-hopping with American hops."

Here we go...


Pour - dark honey and amber in appearance with an inch and a half of thick head on top. 


Aroma - orange, lemon, and grapefruit along with a solid backing of sweet malt aromas. 


Taste - caramel malt flavors providing a tangy sweetness at first, followed by some citrusy hop flavors that don't whip the tongue around too much. Some hints of pine, candied oranges, and floral notes. Medium bodied IPA with a nice smooth finish with a crispness that isn't overly dry. 


Overall - very easy drinking, balanced without being overly bitter. This is a very approachable IPA. If you're a fan of hops, but not obsessed with hops, you'll enjoy this beer as it has a solid amount of hop presence but its not going to peel the enamel off your teeth. Nicely done. 

 

Note - Alltech also opened a distillery in Lexington last year, the first new distillery in the city in over 100 years. They produce Town Branch Bourbon and the barrels that age it are used in the production of the brewery's popular Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. 

 



Hops Scale:
(See All Rated)
Kentucky IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Alltech\'s Lexington Brewing Company
City: 
Lexington, Kentucky  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: 2 Row, Aromatic, Caramel 40
Hops: Cascade & Columbus (boil), Centennial & Simcoe (dry hop)
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: ???
Date: May 31st, 2013

Posted by Russ


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Tuesday, May 28th 2013

Hubris Quadrupel Anniversary Ale
(Brewery Vivant)

Our friends at Brewery Vivant continue to crank out Belgian-inspired goodness in cans. The February 2013 release of this monster anniversary ale brings their total count of craft cans to a baker’s dozen. At 11.5% ABV, it currently shares the title of “Biggest Beer in a Craft Can” with 21st Amendment’s Lower De Boom. We’ve been anxiously awaiting this one’s arrival in cans since our visit to the brewery last year, so let’s get at it!  

Here we go...

 

Pour - deep copper brown.  Very little light gets through. Head dissipated quickly and left some thin, spotty lacing in its wake.


Aroma - green raisins, ripe sweet fruit, brown sugar, apples, a hint of green peppercorns, and bread. Nice!


Taste - rich, sweet ripe fruit start that dries out in the middle and ends with sour notes for a moment before a dry, crisp, and very clean finish. As it warms the breadiness and yeast spice become more pronounced.  A beer this big should take more than a couple minutes to finish (and therefore warm up), but its clean finish makes that a challenge. By the time I reached the bottom of the glass I was actually considering opening another.

 

Overall - Our review is the combination of two separate tastings – one very fresh and a second with three months of aging.  Based on our tasting notes, when young the grain stands out and the bready qualities play a more prominent role in the flavor and aroma. With some age the fruit comes out and the body thins out. We like it better with some age on it, though young or old its drinkability is dangerous. To my palate, this is one of the more enjoyable quads brewed in the States.

Note - The first canned release of Hubris saw very limited distribution beyond of the brewpub. Look for Hubris to return to cans again on December 3, 2013 with a couple more new ones between now and then.



Monk Scale:
(See All Rated)
Hubris Quadrupel Anniversary Ale
Style: Quadrupel
Brewery: Brewery Vivant
City: 
Grand Rapids, Michigan  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 9.9%
IBUs: ???
Date: May 28th, 2013

Posted by Trent


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Saturday, May 11th 2013

Glutenberg American Pale Ale
(Brasseurs Sans Gluten)

The Glutenberg brand of gluten-free beers is produced by Canadian brewery Brasseurs Sans Gluten (BSG). The Montreal-based brewery began operatins only last July but has received a number of accolades for their gluten-free beers. Their American Pale Ale won a Silver medal at last year's World Beer Cup held in San Diego. 

From the Glutenberg site:

"Most likely the first gluten-free beer in the world that presents such a hopped character, our American Pale Ale is the true flagship of Glutenberg beers. Its citrus and caramel notes, coupled with a mild bitter finish, come together in perfect harmony."

Here we go... 

Pour - dark honey, golden to auburn in appearance with a solid inch of foamy white head on top. Looks good coming out of the can and the head sticks around nicely.

Aroma - pleasant floral hop aroma with some caramel and molasses notes. Definitely smells on par with the style.

Taste -  wow. This tastes like an American Pale Ale! The malt backbone is there with a nice subtle citrus and floral hop flavor. Slightly dry in the finish with a very noticeable hop kick and a bit of a peppery, spicy flavor. Not going to lie, we're pretty impressed by this gluten-free offering. It's refreshing, blanced, and quite tasty. 

Overall -  it is not easy to make beer without gluten and those that do make gluten-free beer are also challenged by the fact that most folks who like beer are expecting a certain flavor. We are happy to say that this is a very good American Pale Ale, with or without the gluten. Great hop presence, balanced, and leaves some pucker on your lips in the finish. Well done! If you're gluten intolerant you'll want to give this one a try! We'll have to seek out the others they make and put them to the test as well.

Note - BSG is the second brewer to make gluten-free beer pacakged in a can. The other being Nevada's Joseph James Brewing Company which released their Fox Tail Gluten Free Beer in cans in 2011. 

Glutenberg currently cans three gluten-free beers, a Blonde Ale, an American Pale Ale, and a Red Ale. They are currently distributed only in Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont. 

 



Hops Scale:
(See All Rated)
Glutenberg American Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
Brewery: Brasseurs Sans Gluten
City: 
Montreal, Quebec  
Country: 
Canada  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Millet, Buckwheat, and Corn
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: ???
Date: May 11th, 2013

Posted by Russ


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Thursday, April 25th 2013

River Runners Pale Ale
(Eddyline Restaurant and Brewery)

River Runners Pale Ale was the gold medal winner in the International Pale Ale category at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival, an event that led to the eventual canning of the beer. The name comes from a whitewater rafting company on the Arkansas River with whom the brewery shares a friendship and mutual love of rafting and kayaking. 

From Eddyline:

"River Runners Pale Ale, which has been crafted by Eddyline Brewery in Buena Vista, Colo. since May 2009, captured the International Style Pale Ale Gold Medal at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival"

Here we go...

Pour - light golden to start color in appearance with almost an inch of foamy head on top that leaves some nice lacing as it settles.


Aroma - a combination of fresh, grassy, citrusy hops and sweet malt. Love the fresh hop aroma, it really is enticing. There are some slight tropical fruit notes here as well - pineapple and papaya perhaps.


Taste - the first thing that hits the tongue is the sweetness from the malt, its tangy and bready and immediately mixes with the citrus and tropical flavors from the hops. What you get is a very well-balanced pale ale with a good dose of both aroma and bittering hops as well as a malt bill to handle it. A nice tangy, bitter finish leaves the tongue a bit dry and thirsting for more. 


Overall - you want easy drinking and plenty of hops? Here you go. River Runners is a well-balanced pale ale with plenty of hop aroma and flavor along with a solid malt backdrop.  Even at 6% this tastes very light on the palate and comes across as a lower ABV beer. Good thing it comes in pint cans.

Note - if you, like us, are a fan of the design for the River Runners Pale Ale can you can thank Paul Moline for being the artistic talent responsible. You can check out more of his work HERE

 


River Runners Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
Brewery: Eddyline Restaurant and Brewery
City: 
Buena Vista, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Amarillo, Cascade, El Dorado
ABV: 6.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: April 25th, 2013

Posted by Russ


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Tuesday, January 29th 2013

Black Walnut Wheat
(Piney River Brewing Company)

When it comes to utilizing regional ingredients in a beer, something that makes American craft beer so great, Piney River Brewing Company has really embraced something special. This small brewery located in the Ozarks of Southern Missouri makes good use of the indigenous black walnuts found in the region and has produced a very unique brew with some subtle yet complex flavors. What was once a small batch, draft only brew, is now one of the brewery's most popular beers and one of four beers they currently can.

From the Piney River site:

"Buckets, burlap bags and pickup truck beds are filled with black walnuts each fall in the Ozarks. The rich and lively flavor of the wild, hand-harvested black walnut is a renowned flavor of the region. We're proud to continue celebrating local flavor and tradition with our handcrafted Black Walnut Wheat Ale."

Here we go...

Pour - dark chestnut in color with an espresso like head on top. Some nice ruby reddish highlights when the light hits the glass. Looks like a well put together brew.


Aroma - malty sweet aromas include caramel, molasses, cocoa, and dark roast coffee. There are also some earthy aromas at play here and perhaps a bit of nuttiness.


Taste - as a dark wheat ale this has some great balance between the dark roasted malt flavors and the body that the wheat provides. Plenty of roasty notes along with molasses and a distinctly nutty flavor from the chestnuts. The finish is semi-sweet with a bit of dryness on the tongue - which only forces your face back in the glass for another sip. 

 

Overall - an extremely drinkable, very flavorful, and nicely balanced beer and one that you can enjoy immensely at only 4.5%. The chestnuts provide a very unique flavor to this dark wheat ale and it goes great with the roasty elements of the malt. Its understandable why this became an instant favorite and why it is now available year-round in cans. Well done!

 

Note -  Black walnut wood is used to make furniture, flooring, and rifle stocks, and oil is pressed from the seeds. Nuts are harvested by hand from wild trees. About 65% of the annual wild harvest comes from the U.S. state of Missouri and the largest processing plant is operated by Hammons Products in Stockton, Missouri. The black walnut nutmeats are used as an ingredient in food, while the hard black walnut shell is used commercially in abrasive cleaning, cosmetics, and oil well drilling and water filtration. - Wikipedia



Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Black Walnut Wheat
Style: American Dark Wheat Ale
Brewery: Piney River Brewing Company
City: 
Bucryus, Missouri  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 4.5%
IBUs: 18
Date: January 29th, 2013

Posted by Russ


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Thursday, January 3rd 2013

Hopitoulas IPA
(NOLA Brewing Company)

 

Hopitoulas IPA takes its name from New Orleans' Tchoupitoulas Street (CHOP-it-TOO-luhs), where NOLA Brewing Company is located. The can design features an image of the Big Easy's skyline and some great intricate artwork on both the front and reverse. This is NOLA's first 16 oz. can and one of their most popular draft offerings. Cheers!

From the NOLA site:

"Hopitoulas was the third addition to our year-round beer portfolio. This 6.5% ABV ale is a West Coast style India Pale Ale that combines 6 malts and 6 hops with additional dry hopping for three weeks. It takes about a month and a half to make each batch and we think it is worth the wait.  Hints of pine and citrus with a powerful, yet balanced hoppy flavor, Hopitoulas packs a punch that you won’t forget."

Here we go...

Pour - a great looking amber, dark honey color with a solid inch of off-white head. Looks like a clean pour with spot on carbonation. 


Aroma - very piney along with some tropical fruits (pineapple and mango) as well as lemon and grapefruit citrus aroms. Very aromatic with a touch of sweetness and malty, toasty notes.


Taste - rather light on the palate as soon as it hits the tongue, definite flavors of pine and grapefruit with a solid and sweet malt backbone. The tropical notes are definitely there and combine well with the sweetness of the malt. Not a hop bomb by any means and quite easy drinking - found myself at the bottom of this glass quite quickly and was wishing I had a few more cans in the fridge...

 

Overall - a great candidate for anyone who like hops but doesn't need them at an overwhelming level. Hopitoulas IPA is a very balanced beer with great piney notes along with a solid malt base. Well done NOLA!

 

Note - if you look closely at the reverse of the Hopitoulas IPA can you'll see the phrase, "Laissez la bonne biere verser", which is French for "Let the good beer pour". 

 



Hops Scale:
(See All Rated)
Hopitoulas IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: NOLA Brewing Company
City: 
New Orleans, Louisiana  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: ???
Date: January 3rd, 2013

Posted by Russ


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Sunday, December 16th 2012

Abominable Winter Ale
(Hopworks Urban Brewery)

It really is amazing how craft beer can design just keeps on getting more and fun and exciting. HUB's newest canned release, as well as their first seasonal can, features a hard to resist illustration of "Mr. Yeti" by Portland artist Martin Ontiveros. For years this brew has been available on draft and in 22 oz. bottles, also with incredible artwork by Ontiveros, and now for the first time its available in cans. If you see some, get some. Did we mention that this, and every other beer that Hopworks brews, is totally organic? Just a side note. Also, we just found out that HUB barrel-ages some of this and pours it under the name "Kentucky Christmas". That is surely incredible...

From the Hopworks Urban Brewery site:

"This mythological beer emerges from the depths of our brewery every winter. Made with Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops and six organic malts. “A-Bomb” has a complex floral, spicy and citrus hoppiness backed up by just the right amount of malt sweetness.

Don’t turn your back on the BEAST!"

Here we go...

Pour - dark auburn in color with a big beastly, snow-white head on top. Loads of sticky lacing inside the glass. 


Aroma - citrusy, piny, grassy, molasses-y. Very nice aromas of sweet oranges and caramel. Very balanced between hop aroma and malt aroma. 


Taste - the first taste reminds me of grapefruit with some sugar on top. Its both puckering and citrusy but with a sweetness. Each additional sip brings about similar sweet citrus flavors from the hops and malts working together. There is certainly a good deal of pineyness here as well. Each sip is completed with a not-too-dry and not-too-bitter finish. Nice lingering hop flavors and malty sweetness sticking to the tongue. This isn't too heavy but certainly has some bigger flavors. 

 

Overall - this beast has some bite but has an overall balanced temperement. Great hop flavors and aromas and a winter brew that doesn't taste like someting you'd rather eat than drink. This should appeal to the hopheads as well as the maltheads. Its big but not too scary. This is the type of monster that you're happy comes along with a few of his friends.

 

Note - you can check out more of Martin Ontiveros' artwork over on his website MartinHead.Com

 



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Abominable Winter Ale
Style: American Strong Ale
Brewery: Hopworks Urban Brewery
City: 
Portland, Oregon  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Cascade, Centennial and Chinook
ABV: 7.3%
IBUs: 70
Date: December 16th, 2012

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Thursday, December 13th 2012

Cant Dog Imperial Pale Ale
(Marshall Wharf Brewing Company)

We've been hearing about cans from Marshall Wharf for awhile and were pretty excited to finally pick some up on a recent trip up to Maine. If you're not familiar with Marshall Wharf Brewing Company that's completely understandable. Outside of New England, or perhaps outside of Maine, they are relatively unheard of as the brewery is fairly small and distribution is pretty limited. In fact, the reverse of their cans reads, "We can and distribute one 200 gallon batch per week." So yeah, they are small...but damn do they make good beer.

From the Marshall Wharf site:

"This beer is the one beer that our brewers and I would take to that mythical deserted island if we could only bring one Marshall Wharf beer. Huge malt backbone matched with huge amounts of hops."

Pour - dark golden with hints of reddish orange, nice deep colors with a substantial head on top. At close to 10% this definitely has some legs and pours rather viscous.


Aroma - BIG aromas of pineapple and mango. Love those tropical notes brought on by ridiculous amounts of hops. This is an extremely fragrant brew with loads of floral aromas and sweetness from the malt backbone. Wow, this is one of those beers that you get pleasure from just from burying your nose in the glass.


Taste - all those big fruity, tropical aromas translate into some amazing palate pleasing flavors that combine with a big malt backbone. Defintiely some sweetness to this beer but not cloying or syrupy whatsoever. The bitterness is pretty much held in check and a lot of the flavors are coming straight from the hops - and they are pretty tasty. 

 

Overall - excellent. I feel pretty satisfied with finally being able to enjoy a pint of Cant Dog in the comfort of my own home. Its great to see the amazing beers of this small, mid-coast brewery are now packed in a portable package that will definitely introduce quite a few new fans to this pretty special little brewery. 

 

Note - Marshall Wharf is currently only canning their Cant Dog Imperial Pale Ale. The cans were designed in a way that will allow the brewery to place a clear adhesive denoting whichever beer they happen to put inside. If you're in Maine be sure to hunt these down, have a pint of their beer on tap, or if you have the time head up the coast and visit their brewpub in beautiful Belfast. 

 

 




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Cant Dog Imperial Pale Ale
Style: Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Brewery: Marshall Wharf Brewing Company
City: 
Belfast, Maine  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 9.7%
IBUs: ???
Date: December 13th, 2012

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Wednesday, December 12th 2012

oSKAr the GRauch Smoked IPA
(Oskar Blues and Ska Brewing)

How do two of Colorado's most well-respected breweries both celebrate ten years of canning their beer? Brew an amazing beer together, can it, and then throw a big party! That's what Oskar Blues and Ska Brewing did a few weeks back. The beer they brewed, which was aptly named oSKAr the G'Rauch, is a big, hoppy, smoked IPA and was packaged in both 16 and 19.2 oz. cans. Check out the label art, who doesn't love a skeleton-faced monkey riding a bike? Happy CANniversary!

From Oskar Blues:

"What did oSKAr the G’Rauch say to the face? Slap! Aromas of freshly-peeled orange and apricots with a touch of……..smoke? Juicy citrus and fruit flavors dominate but don’t overpower the slightly sweet malt structure. Finish is all citrus rind ping-ponging with some smoky phenols. 8.5% ABV. MANY IBU."


Here we go...


Pour – deep golden in color with a very clean appearance and a big, thick, fluffy white head that sits gloriously on top. This looks very, very good.

Aroma – plenty of smokiness hitting the nose right away with some sweet smelling tropical fruit aroma in the background. Love that smokey aroma, wow. This smells pretty much what you might expect a smoked IPA to smell like. Sort of like someone took a bag of fresh hops and threw them in a smokehouse for awhile. The hop aroma is there but it is certainly tinged by the smokiness from the malt.

Taste – wow. Really. This is an impressive beer. The smokiness is not overpowering on the palate but it also sitting idly by while the hops take over. Nope, this is definitely telling you that there is plenty of smoked malt in there to balance out the El Dorado hops that are also assualting the sense with big sweet orange and pineapple flavors. Somehow it all comes together nicely and the tastebuds are rejoicing after each sip and continue to do so as the smokiness and the hoppiness linger happily side by side.


Overall - very impressive beer. One can only imagine that with a beer like this it would be easy to have things go wrong. A little too much smoked malt and this turns into something completely different. Too many hops and this becomes too bitter and unbalanced. We're glad to see two of our favorite breweries come together after so many years and brew something so original...and so delicious. CANgrats!


Note - Smoked IPAs are a relatively new, and still unrecognized, "style". Very few have been done at a production level. One of the only others we know of was Golden Road Brewing Company's Burning Bush Smoked IPA, which was the second release in their Custom IPA series. Perhaps we'll see more of them, who knows. We sure hope so!




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oSKAr the G'Rauch
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Oskar Blues Brewery
City: 
Longmont, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: El Dorado
ABV: 8.5%
IBUs: ???
Date: December 12th, 2012

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Tuesday, December 11th 2012

Burning Bush Smoked IPA
(Golden Road Brewing)

Wow, a "Smoked IPA"! Definitely a first in my book and perhaps the first version of this "style" that I've ever seen. As much as I'm leaning towards being a bit apprehensive, I'm also quite excited to try something that sounds so unique and new. Burning Bush is Golden Road's second release in their "Custom IPA" series. This was also their fall "seasonal" which ties in with the name of the beer and the can design. It was first released as a draught-only offering during the breweries opening celebration last year. Yeah, hard to believe that they've only been brewing for just over a year.

From the Golden Road site:

"Brewmaster Jon Carpenter had a vision so absurd in scope that it took his brew team tasting the finished Burning Bush to believe that his revelation was divine. The first known Rauch IPA to our knowledge, Burning Bush uses the smoked malt characterized by a traditional German style Rauchbier with the hops of an west coast IPA. This deep copper colored ale has a light smoky aroma that sits atop a generous floral and piney hopping. At 8%, it’s difficult to taste the alcohol in this smooth-drinking IPA. With its wispy smoke character, Burning Bush is also an incredible complement to grilled foods."

Here we go...

Pour – golden peachy in appreaance with a nice clean and clear hue as well as a half inch or so of white head. Leaves some nice lacing as it fades.

Aroma - stick a nose in a glass of Burning Bush and you'll be left picking out aromas for awhile. The first thing that hits the senses is a combination of sweet citrus and a campfire. The smokiness is there but not overly assertive in the aroma. It's amazing how much piney hoppy aroma this is packing but never without that smokiness coming into play in the background. As a fan of both rauchbiers and big hoppy IPAs this is really a treat to take in.

Taste – one sip and you know you've gotten the best of both worlds. My palate instantly starts picking out the smokey malt flavors that swirl around inside my mouth and begin to dry out my tongue while at the same time there is a barrage of big citrusy and piney hop flavors. This is all backed up by a good deal of regular malt sweetness as this is weighing in at 8% - but you'd never know it from the way it tastes. I love the flavor combination here. The hops are big and bold and the smokiness is at a level where its not overpowering but very, very present. This is delicious and unique and my tastebuds aren't all that sure what is going on - but they do know they're quite happy to try something so new and exciting!

Overall – holy sh*t! This is a beer like none other that I've had in quite some time. At a time when most beers are placed in specific categories it really is nice to try something that is both unique and ridiculously good. It should be interesting to see if other breweries try something similar as this is one of the best new beers I've had in a long time.

Notes - the design on the can, and everyone of Golden Road's cans, is from a picture taken by a local photographer. The Burning Bush can features an image of the Griffith Park (a large municipal park in Los Angeles) wildfires that took place in 2007. It is certainly a striking image for a can of beer and really shows how far we've come with the art and design of today's cans. 



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Burning Bush
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Golden Road Brewing
City: 
Los Angeles, California  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: 2-Row, Victory, German Rauch, Munich 120L
Hops: German, Northwest, & New Zealand Varieties
ABV: 8.0%
IBUs: 70
Date: December 11th, 2012

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Saturday, October 6th 2012

Wolf Among Weeds
(Golden Road Brewing)

Finally, our first review of a beer from LA’s newest canning craft brewery and the first release in their "Custom IPA" series. Wolf Among Weeds comes to us under the brewing leadership of a distinguished trio with prior experience at the likes of Oskar Blues, Speakeasy, and Dogfish Head. Only 500 cases of this extra special brew hit the market, so we feel privileged and excited to give this one a try!

From the Golden Road site:

"This beer is a balanced showcase of the majestic hop specie, in Latin, Humulus Lupulus, which translates “Wolf Among Weeds”. It is the first beer to be canned in our Custom IPA series, which celebrates California’s enthusiasm for hop-forward IPAs. At 8%, Wolf will sneak up on you from behind the fresh pine sap and tropical fruit notes mirrored in its aroma and flavor profile."

Here we go...

Pour – enticing deep amber color suggests a bigger malt bill and is reminiscent of some of our favorite DIPAs. Head retention is very good. Promising start!

Aroma – sweet malts, a hint of toffee, piercing pine and smooth tropical fruit notes. Looks good, smells good. Let’s get it tasted already!

Taste – first thought is this is a very well-balanced beer, especially after the appearance and aroma set us up to expect some degree of palate punishment. Medium toffee flavor in the sweet grain start, a mild splash of complex hop bitterness in the middle and just a touch of warming in the back of the throat at the otherwise dangerously clean finish.

Overall – Our sample was canned two months before our tasting, and perhaps as the result of its age we concluded this is a balanced American IPA that registers just tick in favor of the malty end of the scale. After trying (and failing) to figure out the hop varieties by taste alone, we switched from sips to gulps, which released more hop flavors and bitterness, at least on our palates. It still didn’t help us decode the unique and complex hop profile, but it did help them to stand out a little better against the delicious caramel malts. We’d definitely have this one again and share it with friends as a great example of how different hop combinations create completely different tasting ales that fall under the American IPA category.

Notes - Golden Road plans to stick with the IPA style for their upcoming “seasonal" releases.  At last report the next release in their Custom IPA series will be their Burning Bush Smoked IPA - a smoked IPA. We are intrigued to say the least.



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Wolf Among Weeds
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Golden Road Brewing
City: 
Los Angeles, California  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Two Row, Caramel 70° Lovibond
Hops: Cascade, Galena, Simcoe, Warrior, Zythos
ABV: 8.0%
IBUs: 70
Date: October 6th, 2012

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Sunday, September 30th 2012

Big Red Coq
(Brewery Vivant)

We have a confession to make: we’ve been drinking this beer for several months now - grabbing one from the fridge whenever our palates were hollering for a super hoppy red ale. Apparently we were so busy enjoying it that we never got around to writing up a formal review for the CraftCans Nation. We’re sorry, and any allegation that we followed the suggestion on the side of the can – “If you really like it, don’t tell your friends about it and just buy it all yourself” – is strenuously denied. At least that’s our story, and we’re sticking to it.

From the Brewery Vivant site:

"We make four batches of this beer each year, once a quarter. When it is gone, it is gone. What started as a test batch specialty beer at our pub has grown into one of our most sought after beers. Plus there is so much fun to be had with the name. Coq means rooster in French.

Citrus with mango & pineapple notes give way to a big malty character.  Made with our house Belgian yeast to give it that Vivant-ness you would expect.

Our staff's favorite beer"

Here we go...

Pour – dark copper with a thick, fluffy tan head that didn’t want to go away.

Aroma – Malted grains with a wisp of floral hops. Imagine eating a bowl of Grape Nuts on a cool morning in a flower garden. Yeah, it’s like that.

Taste – A big blast of bitter hops jumps out right away and shocks the palate into giving its’ undivided attention to the beer in front of you. Seems pretty clear that a whole bunch of hops went into the kettle early in the boil. The red comes out in the round, malty middle and calms everything down for just a second or two before the spicy Vivant yeast gives the taste buds a final tickle on its way down the hatch.

Overall – As lovers of all beer styles but hopheads at the core, we really liked this beer primarily for the big and bitter hop presence. However, we also really enjoyed the unique experience of three bright and distinct flavors with each sip that messed with our minds a little bit. We like a flavorful challenge now and then.

Notes: What might be Brewery Vivant’s most popular limited release is set for its next quarterly release on 10.1.12. Michiganders and Chicagoans would be well advised to put in a request for Big Red Coq with their favorite beer sellers now!


Big Red Coq
Style: American Amber/Red Ale
Brewery: Brewery Vivant
City: 
Grand Rapids, Michigan  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.2%
IBUs: ???
Date: September 30th, 2012

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Saturday, August 18th 2012

Hilliard's Amber
(Hilliard's Beer)

One of the first two canned offerings from Seattle's Hilliard's Beer. We love the description of this beer as provided by the brewery. If you need a beer that pairs well with just about anything we think you've found it with this amber/red ale. Cheers!

From the Hilliard's site:

"The perfect balance of bitter and aromatic. It’s our NW take on an Amber Ale: A bit cloudy with a big, bright hop presence. Pour it in a glass or drink it from the can. Pairs well with: food, concerts, parties, television, boating, yard work, avoiding yard work, badminton, etc."

Here we go...

Pour - slightly hazy and dark amber as it hits the glass, almost dark orangish-brown in color. When held to the light it appears bright and amber in appearance. A nice off-white head appears on top. 


Aroma - caramel malts and citrus hit the nose at first. There is a bit of a sweet fruit aroma, reminiscent of apples and grapes. A good deal of hops are present. Those IBUs need to come from somewhere...


Taste - toasty, roasty and malty with a good deal of hop presence. I'm digging the citrus and almost fruity hop flavors that are swirled into the mix with this beer. At 5.5% its not packing any heat but its very flavorful and well put together. The finish leaves a lingering hop flavor on the tongue. I could definitely do a few more pints of this!


Overall - a solid amber ale. No complaints. It hits the marks and quenches the thirst. With 60 IBUs this is packing a little more punch than one might expect from the style and we're totally cool with that. Definitely a very drinkable brew with a hoppiness that is quite enjoyable. 

Note - Hilliard's has just recently released two more canned offerings, their Blonde Ale and Pils both now come in tall boy cans that also sport the same sort of retro graphics. Very cool. We love this brewery...


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Hilliard's Amber
Style: American Amber/Red Ale
Brewery: Hilliard's Beer
City: 
Seattle, Washington  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 60
Date: August 18th, 2012

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Wednesday, August 15th 2012

Elevated IPA
(La Cumbre Brewing Company)

Big thanks to Rob out in New Mexico for sending some of these our way. You rock Rob, seriously. So, why are we so excited? Well, this little canned gem holds 16 oz. of this past Great American Beer Festival's gold medal winner in the extremely crowded, and highly fought over, American IPA category. If you've got a penchant for all things hoppy than you'll probably agree with us when we say that we can't wait to crack this open and try if for ourselves.

From the La Cumbre site:

"Did someone ask for hops? Tired of beers that promise a full lupulin experience, but never deliver more than richly malted bitterness? It’s no secret that this is what we excel at. We’ve been brewing world class IPAs for years. Our flagship is the culmination of a decades worth of studying and brewing. Take a step above and acclimate to what an IPA should be."

Here we go...

Pour - amber to honey-colored pour with a white head that steadily forms and as it retreats leaves some sticky lacing inside the glass. Carbonation looks good and this is ready to go..

Aroma - once the can is opened you'll know you're holding something special. The smell hits you from an arms length away. This packs some big, make that huge, aromas of fresh, green, sticky, hops along with an intense smell of pine. I could sit here and smell this all day. But then I wouldn't get to drink it. But if I drink it I won't be able to smell it. Dilemmas, dilemmas. I should probably take one for the team and at least try a small sip. 

Taste - fan of hops are ya? Well, one sip of Elevated IPA will have you rejoicing. Loads of fresh pine and grapefruit flavors abound with big resiny notes, a sharp bitter hoppy punch and a finish that will keep your palate very happy until the next sip. In no way is this a one-sided IPA that simply brags about IBUs, those 100 bad boys are backed up nicely with a sweet, tropical-flavored maltiness. Balanced, intense, and outstanding. 

Overall - absolutely one of the best IPAs we've ever had. If you're a hophead then put this one on the top of your list. Definitely worthy of the gold at the 2011 GABF and if it's back this year it's going to be hard to beat.

Note - Along with beating out 175 other entries to win the Gold in the American IPA category with this beer, La Cumbre also took home Gold in the American-Style or International-Style Pilsener category with "BEER" as well as Silver in the Foreign-Style Stout category with their Malpais Stout. Well done!



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Elevated IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: La Cumbre Brewing Company
City: 
Albuquerque, New Mexico  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 7.2%
IBUs: 100
Date: August 15th, 2012

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Sunday, August 12th 2012

Threadless IPA
(Finch's Beer Company)

In case you're not aware of the back story behind this particular can of beer. Finch's partnered with Threadless, a well known t-shirt company, and held the "Threadless IPA Design Challange" to pick the label art for this can. 169 different entries were submitted and ultimately the winner was this particular design submitted by Sergiy Chebotaryov. This is the brewery's third canned offering.

From the Finch Beer site:

"Our Threadless/Finch collaboration IPA is a balanced experience of both perceived hoppiness and true bitterness. It pours a darker amber color and finishes with a citrus flavor, and when combined, will require this to be the last IPA you ever drink! Well, maybe, we realize you will probably drink more, but the result of this recipe clearly evolves into a very balanced IPA. The grain bill on this big pale includes melanoidin and Victory malts. We hop it up before the boil starts with some Columbus first wort hopping, then add a bunch more for bittering."

Here we go...

Pour - peach colored pour with a hazy appearance, not sure if its chill haze or just things taking some time to settle and clear. The foamy head on top looks just about perfect and is quite content to stick around for awhile. Overall a nice looking beer in the glass.

Aroma - citrus, lime zest, powdered sugar, pineapple along with some caramel notes. Lots of tropical fruit aromas after sticking a nose in the glass a few more times. Quite aromatic and enticing.

Taste - sharp, but not astringent, hop bitterness right off the bat but its balanced nicely by sweet tropical fruit flavors and a nice malty backbone. The mouthfeel is actually quite soft despite the hop profile. Not a bad IPA by any means and one that we're really enjoying as we reach the bottom of the glass. 

Overall - flavorful and hoppy with tropical fruit notes ranging from mango and pineapple all the way to papaya and even coconut. Soft on the palate with a good amount of hop bitterness. Solid IPA and the best of the three Finch cans we've had so far.

Note - You can check out all the different designs that were submitted for the label design contest HERE - there are definitely some that were very well done, even if they didn't win.

 



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Threadless IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Finch's Beer Company
City: 
Chicago, Illinois  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Melanoidin and Victory malts
Hops: Columbus
ABV: 6.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: August 12th, 2012

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Friday, July 13th 2012

Organic Hopworks IPA
(Hopworks Urban Brewery)

Portland, Oregon's Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) has just released their Hopworks IPA and their HUB Lager in 16 oz. pint cans. You've got to love the designs on the cans as this bike loving brewery has incorporated a bike chain image on the side of the cans. This portable package should make many folks happy as they can now carry a few cans on their next bike trip. Cheers!

From the Hopworks site:

"Our namesake IPA is a Northwest classic. Generous additions of Ahtanum, Centennial, and Cascade hops find their way into the kettle, hop-back and dry-hop. This judicious use of the “brewer’s spice” creates rich and resinous flavors of citrus fruit and pine. The finest organic Canadian pilsner malt and organic Munich and Caramel malts then bring balance to your new favorite beer."

Here we go...

Pour –bright golden and honey colored in appearance with a big foamy white head on top. Looks like a great brew coming out of the can. Carbonation is spot on and plenty of lacing inside the glass. 

Aroma – big bouquet of floral hops, light tropical fruit aromas, lemon and lime zest and some sweet smells of fresh flowers. Very aromatic IPA, quite pleasant.

Taste - piney & citrusy with a nice bitter kick that makes you feel each and every one of those 75 IBUs. Lots of the floral hops are present on the palate with slightly sweet malty side balancing things out. This is ight and refreshing on the tongue with a crisp clean finish. Kinda scary how quickly those 16 oz. disappeared...

Overall - A very easy beer to enjoy that is for sure! Hopworks IPA is a well-built IPA that stays true to the Northwest style with big hop flavors and aromas but isn't astringent or one-sided. This is very balanced and an overall great IPA.

Note - cans of HUB's cans are available in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. HUB's brewery and Hopworks BikeBar are both sustainably built. All of their beers are certified organic and they incorporate a ton of green practices.

"From composting to rain barrels, and from pervious pavers to hand dryers, we have made every effort to protect “our” future with a thoughtful alternative. Hopworks is 100% renewably powered and “cradle to gate” carbon neutral."



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Organic Hopworks IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Hopworks Urban Brewery
City: 
Portland, Oregon  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Organic Canadian Pilsner, Organic Munich, Organic Caramel malts
Hops: Athanum, Centennial and Cascade
ABV: 6.6%
IBUs: 75
Date: July 13th, 2012

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Wednesday, July 4th 2012

Hoppy Boy
(Twisted Pine Brewing Company)

Here it is! Fresh and hoppy! Twisted Pine Brewing's first canned release. Hoppy Boy is the brewery's flagship offering and the first to get canned using the brewery's new canning line. We love the design of the can (look at all those hops!) and the fact that this is 16 oz. of hoppiness - or a Tall Hoppy Can as it reads. We're looking forward to seeing what Twisted Pine puts in cans next. Perhaps one day we'll see cans of their infamous Ghost Face Killah!

From the Twisted Pine site:

"Hoppy Boy India Pale Ale is the flagship beer of Twisted Pine. It pours a hazy pale orange and has a dry, tart taste with an earthy bitterness.   Pleasant grapefruit and citrus notes are provided by the addition of Cascade hops.  This classic American IPA is brewed with medium caramel malts that play off the citrus and orange rind hop flavors to make this beer most enjoyable."

Here we go...

Pour – floods the glass with a gorgeous copper colored liquid that has some nice darker amber hues and a beautiful, lacey, thick foamy head on top. A great looking pour! 

Aroma – big tropical fruit aromas, fresh pine, grapefruit and sweet oranges. This has the type of aroma that makes a hophead tear up a bit. 

Taste - ahhh, the familiar taste of an awesome IPA. Big grapefruit and pine notes and a juicy citrus flavor that leads into a dry finish. Nicely balanced with a sweet, caramel-like maltiness but not too sweet so as the hops aren't in control. They definitely mantain the steering wheel with this IPA. This is a refreshing beer that I'd love to have an entire shelf of  in my fridge! Love it!

Overall - if you've not yet tried Hoppy Boy then you need to put it on your list. This is the type of IPA that IPA lovers are always looking for. It has the strong hop aroma that sucks you in and then once you've started drinking it you never want the experience to end. It hits all the marks for the style with the big piney flavors, the strong citrus notes and a dry, tongue numbing finish. This is an altogether excellent example of an American IPA. Cheers!

Note - this month Twisted Pine is releasing 750 mL bottles of their "Hoppy Girl" beer. The beer is an India Pale Ale infused with hibiscus and jasmine and is part of their Artisan Ale Project - a new beer is introduced during the first Saturday of each month in 2012. The labels for the beers are designed by a local Colorado artist. Pretty cool!



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Hoppy Boy
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Twisted Pine Brewing Company
City: 
Boulder, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Cascade, Northern Brewer, Chinook
ABV: 6.2%
IBUs: 65
Date: July 4th, 2012

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Monday, July 2nd 2012

Great Crescent Dark Lager
(Great Crescent Brewery)

The CraftCans Nation won’t be surprised to hear us admit that there’s a special place reserved in our beer-marinated hearts for craft brewers who make great beer and can ALL of their beers. Great Crescent is one of those breweries. With this review of their Dark Lager we’ve crossed the halfway point and sampled seven of their dozen canned beers. Our quest to track down the final five continues.

From the Great Crescent site:

"This beer is based on the very first commercially brewed beer in the state of Indiana. The name of the brewer was George Bentel. His house is still standing in New Harmony. The Harmonist brewer and cooper, George Bentel, was born November 3, 1781 in Iptingen, the same village in the Swabian kingdom of Württemberg where George Rapp was born. Bentel lived at the northeast corner of Brewery and Grainery streets, where his house remains today, as upright as when Indiana's first brewer marched out to make his beer almost two centuries ago. 

The German utopian communalists in New Harmony were Indiana's first significant brewers. Beginning in 1816, the Harmonists eventually brewed enough to sell all the way up to what is now West Virginia and down into lower Illinois. From the historical record, it appears the Harmonists brewed a porter-like dark beer. It must have been pretty good beer: An educated German, Ferdinand Ernst, stopped in New Harmony during his journey through the frontier region. “They served me a stein of beer,” Ernst wrote, “and I was not a little astonished to find here a genuine, real Bamberg beer.” He gushed that the Harmonists “must be happiest people of entire Christiandom.” A Louisville agent for the Harmonists reported, “Mr. Breeden, the most celebrated porter seller in the place says the strongest part of it would almost pass for porter and is the best beer he has ever seen in this country…”

Here we go...

 

Pour - Deep, dark mahogany in our glass, like caramel with a touch of chocolate mixed in. Wet but fairly sturdy tan head with bubbles of every size sits on top and recedes within a couple minutes.    

 

Aroma - Sweet grain and grassy hops.  A little bit of licorice starts to come out as it warms.

 

Taste - Wait a minute…this isn’t what we expected from a lager. At the cold start we get light sweet malt with some roasted grains at the finish that reminded us of a Schwarzbier. As it warms the mouthfeel becomes more full, the roasted grains offer up some chocolate flavor and combine with what we suspect are Noble hops to give a more bitter, coffee-like finish with some caramel goodness hanging around for an aftertaste. Amazing.   

 

Overall - Every once in a while we run into a beer that is very different based on the temperature, and they’re usually lagers.  And those of us who have been drinking lagers for a couple decades may have been conditioned to drink them ice cold to mask the true flavor of what is in our glass - don’t do it with Great Crescent’s Dark Lager! We liked this beer so much better when it warmed that we were convinced it could be an ale, and we wrote this review over four different samplings just to be certain we weren’t imagining the complexity that showed up at higher temperatures. The CraftCans team highly recommends this beer; just take care to not let it get too warm when what we think is the lager yeast starts to take over and some sourness coats the palate.  


Note - Dark Lager was Great Crescent’s ReplicAle at the 2010 Indiana Microbrewers Festival.  Based on a cursory internet search, dozens of Indiana brewers took up the challenge of recreating the state’s first commercially available brew, including our good friends at Sun King Brewing.  As best as we can tell, Great Crescent is the only brewer to have canned their version inspired by a very old recipe. To learn more about this small Indiana brewer go HERE. Cheers!

 

 


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Great Crescent Dark Lager
Style: Euro Dark Lager
Brewery: Great Crescent Brewery
City: 
Aurora, Indiana  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.7%
IBUs: 23
Date: July 2nd, 2012

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Thursday, June 7th 2012

Trebuchet Double IPA
(Brewery Vivant)

 

Trebuchet is very unqiue offering from the folks at Brewery Vivant. This is their take on the big, bad, double or Imperial IPA with a Belgianesque twist. One of only a few brewers taking a stab at this new hybrid style of beer. They also brew and can Triomphe, which is a Belgian-style IPA. Trebuchet is also one of five recent special Brewer's Reserve releases that this Michigan brewery has put into their specially designed cans. Look for even more in the future. 

 

From the Brewery Vivant site:

"Somewhere there is a Belgian Monk who's head is spinning. A Belgian brewer would never put this much hops into a beer.  However, we are not Belgian are we? We can do whatever we want.  This is an unconventional beer. Belgian candy sugar, classic Belgian yeast, and a boat load of hops, plus some dry hopping in top of that.  A very unique take on a Double IPA that will make it stand out in a crowd."

Here we go...

Pour - dark amber with some reddish hues, a bit murkey with a great looking head on top that is thick and leaves quite a bit of lacing. This looks every bit like a high volume beer.


Aroma - lots of juicy, citrusy hops come to the nose almost instantly. Some sweet tropical fruits and caramel malts follow with perhaps a bit spice.


Taste - loads of those tropical fruit flavors, lemons and oranges, a bit of a spicy twang and a big malty sweet backbone gathering all the loose parts together. Love the citrusy hops and the yeasty spiciness. This is big and brash and definitely a unique spin on a relatively new style - a bigger, bolder Belgian IPA for sure. The scariest part is that this beer doesn't taste one bit like it should be tipping the scales at close to 10% alcohol. It's very smooth, not astringent whatsoever, and balanced. 

 

Overall - we loved it. Sure, it defies whatever boundaries people choose to put on styles but who cares. American brewers pretty much threw the style guidelines away long ago which has given rise to so many amazing beers its practically ridiculous. Brewery Vivant is brewing some amazing beers and are one of many small breweries to keep an eye on in the years to come. Cheers!


Note - the trebuchet was a popular war machine during the Middle Ages. It was the ultimate weapon to fire projectiles fast and far in the times before gun powder. The design is fairly simple, its a catapult with a counterweight that amplifies the speed of a swinging arm loaded with the missile. According to Wikipedia, the largest currently-functioning trebuchet in the world is a 22-ton machine at Warwick Castle in England. Based on historical designs, it stands 18 metres tall (59 ft) and throws missiles typically 80 lbs up to 300 meters.

 


Brewery Vivant's Brewer's Reserve Cans




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Trebuchet Double IPA
Style: Belgian Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Brewery: Brewery Vivant
City: 
Grand Rapids, Michigan  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 9.7%
IBUs: ???
Date: June 7th, 2012

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Thursday, May 24th 2012

15th Anniversary Abbey Ale
(Oskar Blues Brewery)

 

A very limited canned offering from the folks at Oskar Blues. These pint cans were hand labeled with love in celebration of the original Oskar Blues Grill & Brew's 15th Anniversary, which took place at the end of April. This was the location where Dale's Pale Ale and friends came into being and it was only steps away, in an old barn, that cans were first hand filled and seamed with sheepish grins. Cheers and a Very Happy, and a little belated, Anniversary!

 


Here we go...

 

Pour – a beautiful dark amber, almost maroon color with a creamy, rich off-white head that looks like it could belong on a pint of Guinness. This is a great looking beer!

 

Aroma - lots of tree fruit aromas like apples and pears along with plums and red grapes. Some faint hints of leather and tobacco. Very aromatic and hard to get your nose away long enough to bring your mouth to the glass. It smells that good.

 

Taste – smooth, sweet and crisp. Lots of those dark fruit flavors as well as toffee and caramel. The finish is semi-dry and leaves you licking your lips as you follow up with another sip. As it warms the flavors become more pronounced and the yeast flavor begins to develop. The apple flavors eventually take on a baked apple flavor and each sip is a little adventure. 

 

Overall - this is an absolutely fantastic beer. We're blown away by just how good this beer is and really, really implore the folks at Oskar Blues to somehow bring more of this to the masses. If only we had more of these, one was certainly not enough.

 

Note - This year Oskar Blues celebrate 15 years of slinging food and drink at Oskar Blues Grill & Brew, 10 years of canning Dale's Pale Ale and the opening of a new brewery in North Carolina! You guys are making 2012 one hell of a year! Cheers!

 



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15th Anniversary Abbey Ale
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Brewery: Oskar Blues Brewery
City: 
Longmont, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 9.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: May 24th, 2012

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Tuesday, May 15th 2012

Firestarter India Pale Ale
(Bonfire Brewing Company)

The town of Eagle, Colorado (pop. 3,000) is about a two and a half hour drive due west of Denver. This is where you'll find Bonfire Brewing, home to a now famous barleywine called "Tebrew"and makers of this particular IPA which they've just recently begun canning with the help of Longmont-based, Mobile Canning. We love the theme with Bonfire's beers and the idea of sipping some great beer around a big fire with friends is one of those joys in life that is hard to beat.

From the Bonfire site:

"A traditional India Pale Ale recipe, bitterness-enhanced with Falconer’s flight hops and aroma-strengthened with an extra dose of Cascade hops.  At 6.6% ABV, this one gets the fire going quickly."

Here we go...

Pour – a glowing orange with yellow hues. The head forms loose but leave some decent lacing as it slinks away. Carbonation might be a bit on the light side.

Aroma – citrus, lime leaves, vanilla, a bit of pineapple and perhaps some mango. Nothing too overpowering in the aroma.

Taste – that first sip provides the malty sweetness and its quickly followed by a nice smooth bitterness coming from those hops. Some lemon and lime citrus flavors are present as is a caramel malty sweetness that sticks around. In the end my tongue is dried out a bit, which means the hops have done their job. 

Overall - a solid IPA with some nice floral hop aromas and flavors. Not overly bitter and without a real "bite" so to speak. Still, at 6.6% and 72 IBUs this is an extremely refreshing and easy-drinking IPA. 

Note - Bonfire Brewing's story is one that has been echoed a number of times in the craft beer world. A story of years of homebrewing turned into a business plan and eventually a small brewery that is a labor of love. You can read more about it HERE!

 



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Firestarter India Pale Ale
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Bonfire Brewing Company
City: 
Eagle, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Falconer's Flight, Cascade
ABV: 6.6%
IBUs: 72
Date: May 15th, 2012

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Tuesday, May 2nd 2012

Chaka
(Sun King Brewing and Oskar Blues)

Chaka is the brainchild of brewers Dave Colt and Clay Robinson of Sun King and Dave Chichura at Oskar Blues, old friends who met in Indianapolis years ago. Leave it to these three guys to not only brew a beer together that is altogether unique in its indigenous ingredients (shagbark hickory syrup from Indiana and a Belgian pale malt from Colorado Malting), but then to also choose to be the first to launch a craft beer in Ball Corporation's 16 oz. resealable Alumi-Tek® pint "bottles". The beer itself just made its debut at the Craft Brewers Conference out in San Diego today and will hit shelves in both Oskar Blues' and Sun King's local markets next week. 

From the Sun King site:

"The end result is a delicious Belgian-style ale crafted with a blend of ingredients from each brewery’s home state: Shagbark Hickory syrup from Hickoryworks in Trafalgar, Ind.; grain from Colorado Malting Company; and a special yeast blend from Brewing Science Institute, also in Colorado. Brewers from both breweries worked together to formulate the recipe and traveled between Colorado and Indiana to brew at both locations."

  

Here we go...

 

Pour - dark reddish amber in appearance with a half inch of off white foam on top that is quick to sink. Pretty cool to pour this beer out of this container! 

 

Aroma - as this filled the glass there was a very apparent Belgian-yeast arom and some sweetness like caramel and cotton candy. Sticking a nose in the glass you can pick out some spiciness and sweet, bready aroma. There is also the essence of apples and pears present. Very aromatic and quite obviously Belgian-esque.

 

Taste - from the first sip the spiciness from the Belgian yeast strain presents itself and stays in the background. There is a tangy sweetness to this beer as well as a hard to define sour or tart flavor that comes at the end of every sip. Perhaps that's the hickory syrup? Not sure. Regardless, it is a positive. As this warms and settles the flavors tucked away in this beer come out. The sweet, soft fruit flavors, the spiciness (ripe bananas and cloves) and the maltiness all meld together very nicely.

 

Overall - calling a beer simply a "Belgian-style Ale" certainly leaves a lot to be discovered by the consumer. There are so many options that fit the category. This is a great example of two well-established brewery sharing a passion for trying new things and bringing in some special ingredients to make a special beer. Packaging certainly plays a part in today's craft beer world but irregardless of how this is presented to you, what is inside is truly exciting and altogether fantastic. We're already excited for the next "CANlaboration", whenever, and whatever, that may be!

 

Note - The story behind "shagbark hickory syrup" is a modern Americana legend that has roots in a 200+ year old mysterious recipe. You have to read THIS to really appreciate how unique this product is to the state of Indiana and to two people in particular. You can check also check out the Hickoryworks website if you want to know even more about shagbark hickory syrup. We had no idea just how special of an ingredient this was in this beer.

 



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Chaka
Style: Belgian Ale
Brewery: Sun King Brewing Company
City: 
Indianapolis, Indiana  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. Alumi-TekŪ bottle
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 8.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: May 2nd, 2012

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Saturday, April 21 2012

Boji Blue Pale Ale
(Okoboji Brewing Company)

Okoboji Brewing Company is a brand new brewing outfit located in the Iowa Great Lakes Area between West Okoboji Lake and East Okoboji Lake in the town of Spirit Lake. They've canned four of their beers so far with the help of fellow Iowa craft brewers, Great River Brewery in Davenport. 

From the Okoboji Brewing site:

"The pale ale is a true American beer, traditionally brewed with American style hops and malt. Light amber color with a full body feel and a crisp finish. The American style hops add fantastic aroma with a balancing bitterness that will please a “hophead” while allowing a great entrance to bolder beer for those new to craft beers."

Here we go...

 

Pour - dark amber, chestnut in appearance with some orange and red hues. A very nicely formed white foamy head sits atop this beer and plenty of lacing is present. Looks mighty fine coming out of the can.


Aroma - caramel sweetness, orange peel, biscuit/bread dough aromas along with some hints of floral hops and lemon poundcake.

 

Taste - first sip and its very apparent this is a beer with a solid malt backbone. Plenty of malty, caramel sweetness is there with some orange and lemon citrus flavors mixing with a bit of floral hop flavor and a lot of biscuity/bread dough. Reminds me a bit of some of the English Pale Ales I've had and I rather like it. Easy drinking with no major surprises but also no character flaws. Solid. 

 

Overall - great beer. Very solid malt character with some nice bitterness and floral hop aroma and flavors. I like the toasty flavors that are followed by the citrus ones. A great pint of beer and a nice introduction to a brand new brewery.


Note - Okoboji Brewing is in the process of building a brewery and taphouse in Spirit Lake. This year they'll be the top sponsor of the "30th Annual Walleye Weekend" and they recently sponsored the 2012 University of Okoboji Winter Games - the second largest event in the state of Iowa behind only the Iowa State Fair. We look forward to hearing more about this brewery in the future.

 


the first four Okoboji Brewing cans released



Boji Blue Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
Brewery: Okoboji Brewing Company
City: 
Spirit Lake, Iowa  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Centennial and Cascade
ABV: 5.0%
IBUs: 45
Date: April 21st, 2012

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Sunday, April 8th 2012

Jessie's Garage
(Revolution Brewing)

Revolution Brewing is the nation's smallest brewery that currently cans their beers. At one point they put some of their beers in 12 oz. cans in-house but are now working with the folks at Mobile Canning to get their beers out to the locals in 16 oz. cans. The brewery, located in the small town of Paonia, Colorado, is housed in a former church. This 4-barrel brewery pumps out a number of different beers using local hops and malts as much as possible. We're excited to get to try some of their stuff and want to thank Mike out in Colorado for hooking us up. Oh yeah, we don't know why this beer is called "Jessie's Garage", perhaps someone will read this and fill us in. Cheers!

From the Revolution Brewing site:

"Our pale ale is made with 2-row and crystal malts, and topped with copious volumes of Centennial and Marynka hops for floral aromatics with a hoppy bite."

Here we go...

 

Pour - nice dark auburn or chestnut color with a subtle head on top. Very clean in appearance with a dark honey like color when held to the light.


Aroma - the aroma of this pale ale is just fanstastic. It's malty with that caramel sweet fragrance with hints of citrus from the hops. There is a bit of an essence of peat, like a scotch ale might have...but perhaps that's crazy talk. Great aroma from a beer well brewed.

 

Taste - that first sip is soft on the palate with some great toasty, bready malt flavors with hints of honey followed by a small wave of bitterness and citrus flavors of oranges and lemons. If you like your pale ales leaning a little more toward the malty end of the spectrum and not trying to jump style lines into the IPA category than this is a beer for you. Well done. Cheers!

 

Overall - this is the type of beer you'd be happy to order again and again and then try and talk your friends into trying. A great pale ale that isn't going to fatigue the palate but will provide a lot of taste and great balance. We'd love to visit this small brewery and try this, and all of their other offerings, on tap while listening to some live music. 


Note - This Revolution Brewing, located in Colorado, is not to be confused with the Revolution Brewing Company located in Chicago. They are two very separate and unique breweries. Although, by year's end they'll both be producing canned beer.



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Jessie's Garage
Style: American Pale Ale
Brewery: Revolution Brewing
City: 
Paonia, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: 2-row and crystal malts
Hops: Centennial and Marynka
ABV: 5.6%
IBUs: ???
Date: April 8th, 2012

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Friday, March 30th 2012

Shift
(New Belgium Brewing Company)

Shift is the fourth canned offering from this booming Colorado brewery and is the first New Belgium beer in pint cans to roll down their new multi-million dollar canning line since its installation in early 2012. With 40 heads and a filling capacity reportedly around 360 cans per minute, this behemoth is ready to start putting significantly more cans of great brews in our fridges and coolers this summer.

A special shout-out must go to our friend and fellow beerhound Bobby T for using his boyish looks and charming disposition to sweet-talk a Fort Collins local into giving him a can of this for us to review before its official release. Cheers!

From New Belgium:

"Shift Pale Lager features the newly developed Nelson Sauvin hop, which brings forth elements of citrus and soft fruit alongside specialty malts and lager yeast. Easy to drink, crisp and congratulatory, Shift is ready for a responsible session in the backyard and beyond.

Here we go...

Pour - deep gold and a noticeably viscous pour.  Bone-white and very sturdy head sits on top as though it were challenging us break through and sample what lies beneath.

Aroma - earthy, slightly fruity, and light floral scent that seems to be unique to this hop variety.  The distinct hop aroma blends in nicely with what looks and smells like a good-sized malt bill for a pale lager.    

Taste - round, medium-bodied, and that all-important “not fizzy” mouthfeel that we like in our craft lagers.  A clean start followed by a semi-sour mango middle before finishing with a nice little zip of bitter hoppiness.  Some light sourness sticks around for a pleasant aftertaste.   

Overall - a smooth, easy drinking craft lager that is unlike any other we’ve tried in a can. At 5% abv it is definitely a good option for sessions – even in its 16-ounce format – and we think it would make a great lager to have in hand when firing up the grill this summer or just hanging out on the back deck with friends.

Note - the Nelson Sauvin (Nelson) hop variety has its origins in New Zealand and has recently started gaining favor with many craft breweries, including Brewdog who use it in their Punk IPA.  New Belgium also uses Nelson in combination with Sorachi Ace hops in their spring seasonal ale Dig, which we hope will be available in cans next year. With a canning line capable of filling 21,600 cans per hour, we like our chances!

 

 


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Shift
Style: American Pale Lager
Brewery: New Belgium Brewing Company
City: 
Fort Collins, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Nelson Sauvin
ABV: 5.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: March 30th, 2012

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Tuesday, March 27th 2012

Kludde
(Brewery Vivant)

 

Kludde (pronounced “clued”) is the fourth canned offering from Brewery Vivant and the first to utilize their “Brewer’s Reserve” blank can with a unique adhesive label. Based on what we learned during our Q & A with Jason Spaulding – Owner of Brewery Vivant, this is just the first of many upcoming special, limited releases from this brewery. Cheers!

 

From the Brewery Vivant site:

"Belgian folklore’s water spirit who roams the Flemish countryside in the form of a monstrous black dog… This monstrous ale is made with green raisins, star anise and dark Belgian candi sugar.  Notes of dried plum, fig and chocolate mingle with the complexity of our two house yeast strains."

 

Here we go...

 

Pour - deep, black cherry colored in our can glass.  A ring of ruby shows around the top when the light strikes it just right.  A thin, loose head holds for just a few moments before receding.  Just a few spots of wet lacing survived the duration of our taste test.


Aroma - big and bold aromas in the Kludde – tart, soured dark fruit stand out with some traces of licorice and sweet grape juice.


Taste - they say aroma plays the major role in what we taste, and this strong dark Belgian proves this theory. The sharp, bright and distinct tang of green raisins is prevalent when this ale is cold. The flavors begin to meld as it warms and the candi sugar sweetness combines with the dried grapes to make this a very different tasting beer than when we started. As we neared the bottom of the glass a rich, light chocolate and licorice flavor emerged to linger on our palates for an aftertaste. At 8.5% we would not have been surprised to find some hints of alcohol but we found it to be very well hidden.   

 

Overall - a beer as big, bold, and intimidating as its namesake.  This is not one for the faint of heart. Timid beer drinkers may find it overwhelming and confusing, while the adventurous and open-minded will give this ale its due respect and, in accordance with the legend of Kludde, stay in the safety of the tavern to have another.  


Note - The alternative label on the Kludde can is shaped liked Brewery Vivant’s logo, and is so well integrated into the design that we didn’t immediately notice that it wasn’t a fully painted can.  Check out our article on alternative labeling to learn more about Kludde and other cans with stickers and shrink wraps.

 




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Kludde
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Brewery: Brewery Vivant
City: 
Grand Rapids, Michigan  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 8.5%
IBUs: ???
Date: March 27th, 2012

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Monday, March 19th 2012

Narragansett Cream Ale
(Narragansett Brewing Company)

 

Last fall, Narragansett held a fan vote to decide which style would be the newest addition to their year-round lineup. The contest was between a Cream Ale and a Rye Ale. Obviously the Cream Ale won which is why we're holding a can right now. This is the brewery's third year round-round release, joining their Lager and Light Lager. We were in touch with Haley Rose, who does PR for Narragansett, about the imagery on the can (below). She let us know that "the building is the Rhode Island state house. The building's inclusion is meant to show the connection to RI, and the beer wagon pays homage to the days when Cream Ale was flowing strong and steady in the 60s, 70s." Cheers Haley!

 


Rhode Island's state house and a beer wagon are featured on the can

From the Narragansett site:

"This is the perfect lawn-mower beer. Our cream ale was brewed with an ale yeast and lagered at 38 degrees for a clean, crisp finish.  This beer is clean, flavorful, light, and crisp, making it a real thirst quencher. It’s an ode to beers of a forgotten age, when things were just a bit slower…and some would say a little bit better. You’ll really enjoy the supreme drinkability of this beer, whether you’re mowing the lawn or mowing down duckpins at the local lanes."

Here we go...

Pour - lighter golden with plenty of bubble action forming a nice white foamy head which leaves some finely formed lacing. Clean and clear with some very solid carbonation.

 

Aroma - steeped grains, cereal, honeycomb and slight hints of citrus. Some notes of bread dough and ripe apples. 


Taste - light on the tongue, effervescent, slightly sweet with a grainy tanginess, hints of lemon zest with a creamy finish. Its not a lager and its not an amber ale. Its not hoppy and its not too malty. It fits in somewhere between and makes for a very middle ground brew to stock the cooler for any backyard get together or group camping trip.  

 

Overall - very refreshing and definitely a great option on those upcoming warm days outside relaxing or for sips during yardwork. Easy drinking, crisp and tasty. Looking forward to having these as an option all summer...and beyond.

 

Note - 'Gansett's Cream Ale may be a new release for the new era of the brewery but it is not the first time that a Narragansett Cream Ale has been on the market.

According to the folks at Narransett Brewing Company:

"Gansett Cream was a staple of the Narragansett Brewery’s portfolio throughout the 1960′s and 1970′s. In the white can with the green trim, it was a refreshing alternative to the more widely heralded ‘Gansett Lager and Porter throughout New England. The earlier Narragansett Cream Ale was lighter and had much less hop character than our current cream ale, as was the taste at the time. Still, it was a popular seller for ‘Gansett and that white can was just as fitting a reward at the end of a hard day of yard work as the royal blue can is today."

 


Narragansett Cream Ale
Style: Cream Ale
Brewery: Narragansett Brewing Company
City: 
Providence, Rhode Island  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: 2-row pale, Munich, Vienna, and Cara malts
Hops: Columbus (bittering), Willamette (aroma)
ABV: 5.0%
IBUs: 22
Date: March 19th, 2012

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Thursday, March 15th 2012

Isis
(Sun King Brewery)

Previously a draft-only seasonal release, Isis is the fifth specialty brew to end up in Sun King's special release cans. Isis, the Egyptian Goddess of motherhood, magic and fertility and was the sister (and eventual wife) of Osiris. This big, hoppy brew is based on Sun King's Osiris Pale Ale recipe - just think bigger, stronger and hoppier. This is the big sister, so much so that she skips right over IPA and goes straight from Pale Ale to Imperial/Double IPA!

From the Sun King site: 

"This is a massive double hopped IPA based on the recipe for our Osiris Pale Ale. Isis has a spicy malt base to help balance the citrus punch from the huge American hop-load. It's everything you and love in Osiris, just more intense."

Here we go...

Pour – dark amber in appearance with a clean, clear disposition and a perfectly formed head on top. A great looking beer coming out of the can, you just know its going to be good!

Aroma – a big wallop to the olfactory glands. Tons of citrus and piney hops along with a good dose of cotton candy and powdered sugar. There is a faint hint of the alcohol and plenty of bitter, floral hops. No shortage of aromatics with this beer.

Taste – I'll try to keep in mind that this has its roots in the recipe for Osiris (an excellent American Pale Ale). First sip brings about a load of fresh orange flavor, pineapple and tropical fruits as well as a good dose of sweetness from the malts. What amazes me is just how light and smooth this is on the tongue. Such a well put together beer with so much flavor yet it doesn't feel heavy or palate killing. A few more sips bring about some flavors of melon, honey and a bitter, spicy finish that leaves the tongue a little dry...and thirsting for more. 

Overall – we've yet to be disappointed by anything coming out of a Sun King can and Isis is no exception. Upping the ante with all of the things that make Osiris great truly paid off. Loved this beer and want to say thanks to the folks at Sun King for making that possible. We need to start planning a trip out to Indy! 

Notes - the name Isis means "throne" and the headdress she is usually depicted as wearing is shown as a thrown. She was the first daughter of Geb, god of the Earth, and Nut, goddess of the Sky. She married Osiris, her brother, and she conceived a son named Horus by him. Isis resurrected Osiris when he was murdered by Seth (god of storms and chaos) by using her powers and bringing his body back to life after having gathered the body parts that had been strewn about the earth by Seth. 

 


Sun King's special release cans so far...



Hops Scale:
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Isis
Style: Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Brewery: Sun King Brewing Company
City: 
Indianapolis, Indiana  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 9.0%
IBUs: 91
Date: March 15th, 2012

Posted by Russ


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Friday, March 9th 2012

8-Bit Pale Ale
(Tallgrass Brewing Company)

Tallgrass Brewing's newest release, 8-Bit Pale Ale, has perhaps one of the most unique can designs that we've seen over the years. If you grew up playing the first generation Nintendo then one look at this can will have you flashing back to all those hours playing games like Super Mario Brothers and Mike Tyson's Punch Out. Tallgrass continues to impress us with both their marketing creativity and their brewing ability, 8-Bit Pale Ale is no exception to either one. Cheers!

From the Tallgrass site:

"Just like those classic video games we all grew up with, 8-Bit Pale Ale is spectacularly simple at first glance yet remarkably fun and complex when you get into it.  Our Hop Rocket infuses the character of Austrailian grown Galaxy Hops into an American Pale Ale, giving a unique tropical, almost melon aroma in a classic American style."

Here we go...

Pour - straw colored as it fills the glass with some golden hues and a nice, thick white head on top. What a great looking beer, it almost looks too good to drink...almost.


Aroma - bready, biscuity malt sweetness mixes with some citrus and floral notes and hints of peaches and melon and some tropical fruit flavors as well as fresh cut grass. Very aromatic and a great beer just to shove your nose into and take it all in before its gone.


Taste - Sweet on the tongue with light honey flavors and some of that biscuity maltiness while the hop profile comes in a bit later and sweeps you off your feet. It's lightly bitter on the tongue with lemon, orange and grapefruit mixed with some floral hop flavors. 


Overall - One sip and you'll know that Tallgrass has a winner with their 8-Bit Pale Ale. It's light on the palate with a lot of great flavor and a crisp finish with just the right amount of bite to be super refreshing and draw you back in for more. This could be a go to beer as the weather begins to warm. Excellent work Tallgrass! 


Note - Galaxy hops are a variety of hop grown in Australia that provide a flavor similar to that of Citra hops.

"Galaxy is one of the most exciting new hop cultivars developed to date. When used as a late addition for flavour or aroma it contributes a distinctive clean citrus and passionfruit character which is more striking and intense the later the addition. Developed and grown exclusively in Australia, Galaxy is late maturing seedless cultivar with a striking flavour characteristic which can contribute artfully to many different beer styles."

Hop Products Australia




Hops Scale:
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Can Scale:
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8-Bit Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
Brewery: Tallgrass Brewing Company
City: 
Manhattan, Kansas  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: 2 Row, Victory, Vienna & Munich
Hops: Magnum, Centennial, Cascade & Galaxy
ABV: 5.2%
IBUs: 40
Date: March 9th, 2012

Posted by Russ


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Monday, February 27th 2012

Torpedo
(Sierra Nevada Brewing Company)

The time has finally come! Both the cans of Sierra Nevada's legendary IPA and their hop-heavy Torpedo have landed on shelves. We had a tough time deciding which one to open and review first so we figured we'd do them both in one sitting. Both cans look great and the brewery did a great job transferring those iconic labels to their can designs. We've got a feeling that a lot of these cans are going to be sold as the weather warms up. Cheers!

From the Sierra Nevada site:

"Sierra Nevada Torpedo is a big American IPA; bold, assertive, and full of flavor highlighting the complex citrus, pine, and herbal character of whole-cone American hops."


Here we go...

 

Pour - dark auburn in appreance with some orange and reddish hues and big, frothy white head that sticks inside the glass like crazy glue. Absolutely fantastic looking beer coming out of the can and certainly flatters our plain can-shaped glass.


Aroma - spicy and floral with some sweet citrusy notes along with some raw sugar and burnt caramel aromas. Plenty of pine and tropical fruits as well. Quite aromatic and certainly appealing enough to make you want to stick your face to the glass and take a big sip.

 

Taste - malty sweetness hits the tongue first before the wave of bitter hoppiness, citrus and fruits like mango and pineapple assualt the palate. Smooth and balanced with a lasting tropical fruit flavor on the tongue and a friendly amount of bitterness. Sierra definitely did the right thing when they kept Torpedo and got rid of the other IPA they were brewing for awhile. This is a great beer.

 

Overall - Torpedo may be heavy on hops but it won't sink your palate like some of the double IPAs out there. With 65 IBUs and a solid malty backbone this is a balanced IPA with some serious drinkability installed. Pint cans are being sold in four-packs which is just about perfect. 

 

Note - the name "Torpedo" refers to the device Sierra Nevada uses to dry hop this and other beers.

"Our obsession with harnessing huge hop flavor led to the development of what we call the hop torpedo, a revolutionary method of dry-hopping designed, built, and debuted here at the brewery. Our torpedo is a sleek, stainless-steel piece of hardware that delivers more pure hop aroma than any method of dry-hopping we’ve ever seen." - Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

 

     



Hops Scale:
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Torpedo
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
City: 
Chico, California  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Two-row pale and Crystal
Hops: Magnum, Citra, Cystal
ABV: 7.2%
IBUs: 65
Date: February 27th, 2012

Posted by Russ


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Tuesday, January 24th 2012

Deviant Dale's IPA
(Oskar Blues Brewery)

Deviant Dale's IPA will be the first 16 oz. can released from the folks who got this whole canned thing rolling a decade ago. Not a bad choice considering this was the hop-laden brew that just won a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival in the very competitive India Pale Ale category. As you can plainly see, this is not the new can. It's merely a vessel used to transport the precious liquid in advance of their new canning line becoming operational. It's what's inside that truly matters, right? A big thank you to Chad at Oskar Blues for letting us have a sneak preview of what is to come!

From the Oskar Blues site:

"At 8% ABV, four hop additions, and a final excessive wallop of Columbus dry-hopping, this beer is meant to say one thing: MORE HOPS! The Deviant is a returning favorite from the little brewery in Lyons, Colorado that started the CANNED Revolution with Dale’s Pale Ale."


       
it's what's inside that matters


Here we go...

 

Pour – a darker golden hue with a sticky, clingy white head that leaves some serious lacing inside the glass. A very clean appearance with the look of a well-brewed IPA.

Aroma – I believe that someone has knocked me unconscious and I have woken up inside a huge pile of hops and could possibly suffocate from intense hop aroma. This is the real deal. TONS of that lovely grapefruit and mango goodness that the upper echelon of hopped up beers deliver. Plenty of pine, and pineapple for that matter, and overall super magnified lupulin experience for the olfactory system.

Taste – massive pine and resin flavors coming flooding in and are rounded out by a punch of bitterness and finally some sweet maltiness in the finish. Lots of those great tropical fruit flavors from the constant barrage of hops to the palate. A little less boozy than G'KNIGHT or GUBNA but certainly no less focused on hops. So, yes, this is worthy of it's medal and worthy of any IPA lover's glass. Cheers!

 

Overall - This one packs a wallop that is for sure. A full pint of this will certainly leave your tongue wounded but asking for more. This is a beer that will please even the most picky hopheads as it is balanced with a clean hop taste that isn't one-sided or a cloying, syrupy mess. We can't wait to have access to more of this brew on a regular basis and are certain that hopheads nationwide will rejoice when 4-packs of these tall boys are released.

 

Note - tall boy cans of Deviant Dale's should be hitting shelves in the next 4-6 weeks throughout the Oskar Blues distribution area. Oskar Blues is currently installing close to $4 million worth of new equipment which includes a new canning line filler and seamer that will allow them to can 300 cans per minute. 



Coming Soon Enough



Hops Scale:
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Deviant Dale's India Pale Ale
Style: Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Brewery: Oskar Blues Brewery
City: 
Longmont, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Columbus
ABV: 8.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: January 24th, 2012

Posted by Russ


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Thursday, January 12th 2012

Wee Muckle
(Sun King Brewing Company)

We review our third specialty brew from the folks at Sun King, and one of eight (yes, eight) Sun King brews to earn a medal at 2011’s Great American Beer Festival. Share why don't you! Seriously though congratulations! That is very impressive! Wee Muckle took gold in the Scotch Ale category, which is saying a lot when you consider one of our all-time favorites, Old Chub from Oskar Blues, took bronze in the same category.     

From the Sun King site: 

"A large, malt-balanced ale with huge
 toffee flavors and hints of port-like character."


Wee Muckle was one of four Sun King beers to win GOLD at the 2011 GABF!

 

Here we go...

Pour – on the deeper side of ruby-brown with a big, loose head that faded fairly quickly.

Aroma – wonderful aroma of caramelized light brown sugar and roasted malts.  A great start! 

Taste – nice malty flavor at the front with a toffee-like light brown sugar sweetness. Mild hoppiness near the finish does a great job offsetting the rich, sweet start to this Scotch Ale. Just a touch of alcohol lingers in the back of the throat to remind you to sip this one. Medium-full mouthfeel fits the style (and my personal preference) perfectly.   

Overall – A well-balanced Scotch Ale that is deserving of its gold medal at the 2011 GABF. The light sweetness doesn’t linger and the modest hop finish made this one very enjoyable. The lack of smoke and peat flavors that we sometimes find in big Scotch Ales made Wee Muckle especially appealing to my palate. I plan to hold on to a can of this until I can get my beer-soaked paws on a can of Old Chub to do a side-by-side blind comparison and see which one wins out.  It will be a close call!    

NOTES - Thanks to the efforts of Sun King and Great Crescent, Indiana is becoming a canned craft beer state. Despite being the only two craft breweries that are actively canning, between them they have made 17 great beers available in our favorite portable containers, including this Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal Winner, Johan the Barleywine (the first canned barleywine) which was a 2011 GABF Bronze Medalist and Great Crescent's Bourbon's Barrel Stout which was the first canned barrel-aged stout.  Cheers to the Hoosier State!

 
Sun King's limited release canned lineup thus far


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Wee Muckle
Style: Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy
Brewery: Sun King Brewing Company
City: 
Indianapolis, Indiana  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 9.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: January 12th, 2012

Posted by Trent


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Tuesday, January 3rd 2012

Cut Throat Pale Ale
(Finch's Beer Company)

 

It took awhile but we finally managed to get our hands on some cans of Finch's Beer Company beer! We've decided to post reviews of both of their current canned offerings today as a "two for Tuesday" as Trent put it - and also because these reviews are long overdue! All the best to the folks at Finch's Beer Co. as they embark on year number two in the craft beer world. Cheers!


From the Finch's Beer Co. site:


"Finch's Pale Ale is a refreshing experience from the pop of the top. Its fresh and hoppy taste with just enough supporting malt makes it easy to kick back more than just one. Our late kettle additions of American hop varieties and dry hopping techniques make this beer one of our favorites. The citrus hop character balanced with a malty backbone creates a delicious, accessible pale ale that is sure to satisfy with every sip. Enjoy this pale with just about any pairing of your choice."


Here we go...


Pour - the first thing we noticed, even before the beer left the can, was that the can stated that this was "ale brewed with Sweet Orange Peel". That's pretty cool - a little different than the norm which is nice. Pours a dark honey color with a well-formed inch of tight foam on top that clings tightly to the inside walls of the can-shaped glass. 


Aroma - sweet citrus entwined with caramel and Tootsie rolls. Lemon and orange zest seem to stand out more than any other aromas and are quite inviting.


Taste - first sip and this has the makings of a very pleasant drinking experience. Lemon, lime and orange flavors mesh well with some hop bitterness and are backed up nicely by a solid malt base. Plenty of flavor and not too light or heavy on the palate. A little tangy on the tongue at times but the carbonation does well to counteract that. Wow, this is going down quick. I wish I had a few more as this is a very enjoyable pale ale.


Overall - very, very drinkable with some great hop flavors with nothing overpowering. I'd go so far as to say that this would be a great session brew for anyone who loves something a little on the hoppy side but not too potent. A very well concocted pale ale from folks at Finch's. We look forward to their upcoming IPA release (read below).


Note - Finch's Beer Company recently teamed up with Threadless.com and ran a contest to find the artwork for their upcoming Threadless IPA can release. The winner will have their design forever immortalized on the cans. That is a pretty sweet canvas if you ask us! Once we know who the winner is we'll pass it on!

 

   



Can Scale:
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Cut Throat Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
Brewery: Finch's Beer Company
City: 
Chicago, Illinois  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.6%
IBUs: ???
Date: January 3rd, 2012

Posted by Russ


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Friday, November 25th 2011

Uncommon Brewers Baltic Porter
(Uncommon Brewers)

The first Baltic Porter to be brewed and canned in the US. We've not yet confirmed if it's the first in the world. There could very well be some small brewery in Russia or Poland that put a Baltic Porter in a can first. The research will continue. By the way, a Baltic Porter differs from a regular porter because it is actually bottom fermented as a lager instead of top fermented as an ale. 

From the Uncommon Brewers' site:

"Late in the 18th century Britain's great brewing families were working hard to break into new markets. For the Baltic Sea ports they created an export version of the traditional British Porter. Styled like an IPA to preserve them for the voyage, those profound Baltic Porters served to ward off the chill winds of that northern sea.

That said, we weren't satisfied with the Baltic Porter's traditionally subtle hint of black licorice. This ale features a blend of whole licorice root and star anise to create an uncommon addition to that traditional export Porter's hearty character."


Here we go...


Pour  very, very dark. This is pitch in color pretty much with only a thin coffee-colored head. This is pretty much impossible to see through and looks rich and flavorful.


Aroma – molasses, licorice, Tootsie-Rolls, cocoa powder, milk chocolate, Play-Doh and some earthy notes. Quite a lot going on in the nose with this beer.


Taste – one sip and you know this is something unique. Lots of dark roasted malt flavor combines with the licorice and molasses notes and there is an effervescence on the tongue that is hard to describe. A bit of a sweet, dry finish almost like eating dried fruits. There is also just the faintest hints of citrus hop flavor and some bitterness biting in the end.


Overall - very good. Uncommon Brewers does this one well, perhaps well enough to be the best of their canned offerings so far. Well done. You've got to know a little bit about this particular style of beer to fully appreciate it. It's an interesting history of an interesting style.


Note - like the other canned offerings from this Santa Cruz, California brewery, this one is totally organic. Uncommon Brewers has also announced plans to can their Bacon Brown Ale in the coming months. This will be the fourth addition to their canned offerings and the first ever "bacon" beer to be canned.

 

   



Can Scale:
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Uncommon Brewers Baltic Porter
Style: Baltic Porter
Brewery: Uncommon Brewers
City: 
Santa Cruz, California  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 7.8%
IBUs: ???
Date: November 25th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Saturday, November 5th 2011

2012: A Pint Can Odyssey


Is the 16 oz. pint can the craft beer vessel of the future?

Are craft beers meant to be housed inside the walls of 16 ounce cans? Yes. We CAN't help but feel that this is a wave that the craft brewing industry is going to continue to ride and many breweries are helping to prove our point. Next year we're going to see some pretty familiar labels faces on 16-ounce cans as well as some new ones that just might have those bottle lovers shaking their heads.

Major brands like Sierra Nevada, Oskar Blues and New Belgium are all planning to release 16 oz. cans in 2012. Why? Why not? Aluminum is like gold in the craft brewing world right now and the move towards bigger cans is on.


Oskar Blues has been doing some major renovating and upgrading at their brewing facility in Longmont, Colorado. One of the big additions to the brewery is a new canning line that will allow for packaging of 16 oz. cans. They shook things up a bit when they announced that their Deviant Dale's India Pale Ale would be the first of their beers to appear in pint cans. The 8% hop-forward beer won a silver medal at this past GABF and has previosuly only been available on draft. Expect to see those cans in the spring and perhaps a few old favorites will also make it into those bigger cans.


Ahh, Sierra Nevada. The world is still waiting to see those first green cans of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Torpedo Extra IPA. Slated to hit shelves in their home state of California before the end of the year, the cans should be nationwide in early 2012 - or so we keep hearing. Torpedo Extra IPA weighs in at 7.2% and is one of the brewery's more aggressively hopped beers. We can't wait to have some of those cans on our hands.


New Belgium Brewing Company made some major news recently with their announcement about overhauling their canning abiltiies and upgrading to a bigger, faster, much more expensive line that will allow for the filling of 16 oz. cans. Look for tallboy cans of Ranger IPA (hooray) and their flagship Fat Tire Amber Ale in January or February. To add a bit of mystery to all of this the brewery has also announced that it will put a "a new, yet-to-be-named beer" in the larger format cans as well. What could it be? I guess we'll have to wait and see. 

 

Other Tallboy Notes. 

Uncommon Brewers has announced that they'll be adding a fourth pint can to their current offerings. Look for cans of their Bacon Brown Ale, yes BACON, on shelves in 2012.

Fort George Brewery out of Astoria, Oregon is going big with plans to put their Cavatica Stout in 16 oz. cans. Cavatica is an Imperial Stout and clocks in at close to 9% ABV. UPDATE: Fort George will also be putting their Quick Wit and Oatmeal Pale Ale in 16 oz. cans next year.

LA's Golden Road Brewing had a soft opening during LA Beer Week with plans to release their two initial canned offerings in 2012. Both their Hefeweizen and their Point the Way IPA will be in 16 oz. cans.

Tampa Bay Brewing Company will be entering the canning game in 2012 when they begin putting their Olde Elephant Foot IPA in 16 oz. cans.

Finch's Beer Company will enter their second year in 2012. They've got plans to add Threadless IPA to their current tallboy lineup.

Rochester Mills Brewing Company will be releasing their Milkshake Stout in 16 oz. cans sometime in the next couple months. It will join their Cornerstone IPA as the brewery's second tallboy can.

Missouri's Piney River Brewing should be releasing their first two 16 ouncers in the coming months. Look for their Missouri Mule IPA and McKinney Eddy Amber Ale on shelves soon.

We're also hoping confirm that Brewery Vivant, makers and canners of Belgian-style brews, will be putting their Zaison (a "Super Saison" ale) in 16 oz. cans in 2012.

Crabtree Brewing Company will be working with Mobile Canning to release their Syzygy Black IPA in pint cans sometime in the early part of 2012.

If you know of any that we missed please give us a shout! Cheers and Viva la Can!


 


Posted by Russ



Tuesday, November 1st 2011

Great Crescent IPA
(Great Crescent Brewery)

 

From the brewery that brought the world the first ever canned barrel-aged stout comes this 16 oz. can of IPA. We don't know too much of the specifics about this particular beer - such as it's strength or it's IBUs not to mention we also have no idea which particular hops or malts are used in brewing it. Oh well, sometimes it's fun to guess. 

 

From the Great Crescent site:

"The beer that was created to make the ocean voyage to India when it was a British Colony lives on today in many interpretations - all hoppy, some a lot more than others. Great Crescent IPA is made in the classic British style and maintains some balance between the malt and the hops. There is a moderate hop aroma with a carmel malt presense. Hop flavor and bitterness come through very cleanly in the finish."


Here we go...

 

Pour - great looking orange to peach colored IPA. Head resembles pancake batter and leaves some ridiculously thick lacing inside the glass. Very good looking beer coming out of this can.

 

Aroma - citrus along with some Christmas tree pine aromas that sort of lean towards being astringent and soapy smelling. Not a whole lot of malt sweetness detected in the nose. This almost has the aroma of plastic a bit. Hmm...

 

Taste - first taste and I get some more of that astringent bitter flavor. It reminds me of pine but perhaps a bit more than I'm used to tasting in an IPA. Some malt backbone comes into play but this lacks much in the way of hop flavor. The flavor profile of this particular India Pale Ale leaves me scratching my head and tapping the glass.

 

Overall - not overly impressed by this one. I can't help but feel that there are some off flavors and something isn't quite right. Even if this was more of the British-style of IPA I'd be getting more hop flavor and aroma along with a solid malt backing. The astringency of this brew is a little off-putting. Bummed as we've loved the other beers we've tried from Great Crescent. Perhaps it was just this particular batch?


Note - Great Crescent cans every one of the beers they brew. They do so by utilizing a can that allows them to adhere a label denoting the style within. This is similar to what both Sun King Brewing Company and Dolores River Brewery are also using. 



Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Great Crescent IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Great Crescent Brewery
City: 
Aurora, Indiana  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: ???
IBUs: ???
Date: November 1st, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Thursday, October 27th 2011

Great River Oktoberfest
(Great River Brewery)

 

Sly Fox Brewing Company released the first canned Oktoberfest beer last year. Since then there have been 7 other Oktoberfest beers released in cans with Great River's being one of 4 to be released for the first time in 2011. Great River Brewery is truly one of those breweries that focuses on producing great beer for local consumers. If you can get your hands on some of their stuff you won't be disappointed. 

 

From the Great River Brewery site:

 

"Great River Brewery’s Oktoberfest is a Marzen style beer brewed with Hallertau hops and pale and crystal malts. The result is a full bodied,malty brew with a beautiful amber color and a clean dry finish."

 

The CAN reads:

 

"Today, many areas celebrate Oktoberfest, but the original is in the Bavarian city of Munich and the name has become synonymous with beers that are only produced during that special time of the year.


Great River Brewery's Oktoberfest is a Marzen style beer brewed with Hallertau hops and pale and crystal malts. The result is a full bodied, malty brew with a beautiful amber color and a clean dry finish."


Here we go...

POUR: dark amber in color with some ruby red hues along with a thin white head made up of soda-like bubbles. Clean in appearance with lots of little orbs streaming upwards. Great looking pour for the style.

AROMA: faint hints of cereal grains and caramel. Some very subtle hints of brown sugar and corn syrup. The aroma of this beer is very muted. 

TASTE: one sip and this is definitely going to please the malt lovers. I get toasted brown bread, brown sugar, molasses, soggy bran flakes and an overal very generous grain bill packed into each mouthful. The finish is clean and crisp which really rounds things out nicely. 

OVERALL: once it hits the tongue this beer takes off. With little aroma and a nice appearance you're sort of left wondering what is going to make this beer special. The malt forward flavor profile of this well crafted lager and that smooth, crisp finish really make this a winner. Well done, wish we had more of it! Another fine beer from Great River.

NOTES: Great River Brewery has just released their sixth canned offering. Big Cock IPA, seriously - no joke - clck on the link, is a limited release IPA that clocks in at 7% with 70 IBUs. 


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Great River Oktoberfest
Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest
Brewery: Great River Brewery
City: 
Davenport, Iowa  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Pale and Crystal
Hops: Hallertau
ABV: 5.9%
IBUs: 25
Date: October 27th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Monday, October 3rd 2011

Autumnation
(Sixpoint Craft Ales)

 

Autumnation is Sixpoint's first canned seasonal and their fifth canned release to date. This is a beer that embodies all the things that are wonderful about the autumn when it comes to beer. It's got a hefty dose of malt, its wet-hopped with freshly harvested hops and its brewed with pumpkin. We really love the idea of all of those things. We'll see how it all comes together and if it might just be something uniquely delicious and altogether amazing...or is it simply too much for one beer? You may have to be your own judge in the end. Cheers!

 

From the Sixpoint site:

 

"Autumn ushers in an annual rebirth with a full harvest, longer nights, and in many cases, a new wardrobe. We’re celebrating the bounty of the season with a new beer that’s coming out in cans this week — Autumnation. Brewed with pumpkin, ginger and white pepper, and wet-hopped with just-harvested Citra hops from the oldest continually farmed hop farm in the country, it’s a burst of fresh, seasonal spices trapped in a 16-ounce. can."


Here we go...

 

Pour - reddish amber, the color of the can isn't too far off actually. Lots of brightness shining through this pout with a nice fluffy inch of head that clings to the glass. Looks clean, clear and well polished. 

 

Aroma - wow, this smells like grapefruit and lemonade with some subdued spices and earthiness. Some more sniffing and some sweetness comes out. If I didn't know any better I'd say that first smell sure seemed like that of an IPA!

 

Taste - one of only a few beers where I've been left sort of speachless as to how I should explain the flavors I'm tasting. There is definitely a lot of bitterness, sort of resiny with pineapple and sharp citrus notes. Lots of IPA characteristics are present but there is also some sweetness, like brown sugar or molasses along with some very subtle spiciness. It's not overpowering and it in no way embodies anything close to the flavors I've gotten from some of the more mass produced pumpkin ales. Actually, throw all of those notions out the window. This is much different. It's like someone mixed a Belgian Dubbel and a Belgian IPA together with some slight hints of pumpkin. That is the best way I can describe this beer and I'm really enjoying it. 

 

Overall - conformity is not the name of the game at Sixpoint and Autumnation is proof of that. This is not a pumkin pie flavored amber ale, no, this is something much different. Get rid of your assumption the minute you open the can. This is hoppy, this is spicy and this is altogether something unique. Some advice would be to let this warm a bit and not drink it super cold as you'll miss out on a lot of the subtle aromas and flavors.

 

Note - Autumnation is only the second example of a canned Pumpkin Ale available in the US. The first was Wild Onion Brewing Company's Pumpkin Ale which was first released last fall. This is the first wet-hopped pumpkin ale that we've ever heard of and certainly the first in a can. Surly's WET is also a great exampled of a canned wet-hopped ale, but it doesn't contain any pumpkin - obviously. 

 

   

 



Hops Scale:
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Autumnation
Style: Pumpkin Ale
Brewery: Sixpoint Craft Ales
City: 
Brooklyn, New York  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Citra
ABV: 6.7%
IBUs: 68
Date: October 3rd, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Thursday, September 29th 2011

Heady Topper
(The Alchemist Cannery)

 

The Alchemist Cannery opened its doors on Friday, September 2nd. The first batch of cans promptly sold out. This particular can of Heady Topper came off the line on Monday, September 19th. The folks in Waterbury are saying that every batch is better than the one before. If thats the case I better plan on making a trip to Northern Vermont once a month. A quick check on the beer rating sites will tell you that this is one of the very best IPAs available in America (and the world by default). This is also the ONLY beer that The Alchemist Cannery is brewing and subsequently canning. Who needs to be prolific when you do one thing exceptionally well? 

 

From The Alchemist site:

"Heady Topper, our flagship Double IPA, is not intended to be the biggest or most bitter. It is meant to give you wave after wave of hoppy goodness on your palate. Tremendous amounts of hops will creep up on you and leave you with a dense, hoppy finish in your mouth. So drinkable, it’s scary."

 

 

Here we go...

 

Pour - when poured into a glass Head Topper is an apricot color with about a half inch of white bubbly head that fades fairly quickly but leaves some nice lacing. Its slightly hazy with some sediment settlling at the bottom of the glass. When you drink it straight from the can (I'm not crazy, read the can) it's all just a mystery - a deliciously hoppy mystery. 

 

Aroma - pungent, citrusy, floral, sinus-clearing and downright heavenly. One of the best smelling IPAs we've come across - so fresh and so clean. Lots of grapefruit and pine in the nose. Wow. I think you can get a contact buzz off this...

 

Taste - one sip and you know you've stumbled upon something special. This is fresh times a thousand. Big flavors of grapefruit and hop resins abound. My mouth is puckering within seconds and my tongue is starting to succumb voluntarily to the 120 IBUs this is hop-forward beauty is packing. I'm completely surrendering to this beer. It really hits all the marks perfectly for the style and makes me wonder what I'm going to do after my last can is gone. Like hops? Like style perfection, freshness and in your face goodness? This is for you.

 

Overall - fantastic! One of the best big, hoppy IPAs that we've ever tasted. Big, floral aroma with tons of chewy, piny, citrusy flavor and smooth finish that keeps you wondering if you might just be able to finish one more can. The strength, 8% ABV, is hardly noticeable with this amazingly smooth and drinkable delight. When you focus all of your attention on brewing just ONE amazing beer its hard to expect anything less than greatness and this embodies just that. 

 

Note - When you look at a can of Heady Topper it might be hard not to notice that the can actually reads along the top, "DRINK FROM THE CAN". The back of the can explains the reasoning behind this and I can honestly say that it tastes fantastic poured into a glass or straight from the can. This is an absolutely amazing beer any way you enjoy it.

 

    

 



Hops Scale:
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Heady Topper
Style: Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Brewery: Alchemist Cannery
City: 
Waterbury, Vermont  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 8.0%
IBUs: 120
Date: September 29th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Monday, September 19th 2011

Bourbon's Barrel Stout
(Great Crescent Brewery)

Bourbon's Barrel Stout has the distinction of being the first, and only, barrel-aged stout in a can. Most folks don't know too much about this small Indiana brewery but they're quietly producing some amazing beers. Like their fellow Indiana brewers Sun King, Great Crescent also utilizes a multi-style blank can that allows them to adhere a sticker denoting what's in the can without having to order a truck load of cans. They can put as much, or as little, of a batch into cans as they want. Pretty smart thinking on their part. Okay, let's crack this open!

 

By the way,  a recent article discussing the bottle vs cans debate in the brewing industry quoted Jeff Bagby, head brewer at Pizza Port in Carlsbad, CA saying:

 

“I think it will always be a small part of the craft beer market,” Bagby said. “I don’t see it taking over bottles, especially with the high-end beers. I’d be amazingly surprised if we ever see barrel-aged beer in a can. It just doesn’t even sound right...”

 

From the Great Crescent site:

"This beer is a slightly bigger version of our regular stout that is aged in Maker's Mark Bourbon barrels. This stout is about 8% ABV and 65 IBU's to blend perfectly with the delicious aroma and flavor imparted by the bourbon and oak from the barrels."


Here we go...

 

Pour - inky, jet black with no light coming through whatsoever. Very thin, wispy coffee-colored head on top. Tiny streams of carbonation flowing upwards in the glass. Wow, this looks impressive.

 

Aroma - dark roast coffee, Oreos, chocolate cake batter, dark chocolate, cocoa, vanilla beans and heft amounts of dark roasted malt. This smells heavenly. Lots of aromas going on...

 

Taste - first sip and I realize right away that this has the mouthfeel of velvet. So smooth it is scary. Bitter roasted flavors abound with some sweet cocoa and coffee as well. There is a dry, tannic flavor in the background along with some notes of vanilla from the barrel aging. Not too overpowering, just a nice subtle flavor enhancement. No real sense of the alcohol in this brew, which is nice as sometimes that alcohol flavor in bigger stouts can be a bit much. Everything meshes very well in this stout and each sip complements the last. As this warms the flavors are enhanced and the glass gets emptier and emptier.

 

Overall - this beer is proof that you can put a bigger, more complex beer in a can with no issues whatsoever. The flavors and aromas of this beer are preserved perfectly and this tastes amazing. Lots of bitter roasty maltiness along with the unique qualities provided by the barrel-aging make this stout well-rounded and extremely enoyable. Bourbon's Barrel Stout is not too strong and thus there is no burn from the alcohol. This is smooth like silk going down and pure pleasure to drink. 

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. I've got the cash in my hand. It may not sound right to you Jeff, but it sure tastes amazing to me!

 




Barrel Scale:
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Bourbon's Barrel Stout
Style: American Stout
Brewery: Great Crescent Brewery
City: 
Aurora, Indiana  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 8.0%
IBUs: 65
Date: September 19th, 2011

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Friday, September 16th 2011

Farm Hand
(Brewery Vivant)

 

Farm Hand is one of three canned offerings from Brewery Vivant. All three are Belgian-style beers and all are put in 16 oz. pint cans. Farm Hand is one of only two Saison-style beers currently being canned in the US - the other being Surly's CynicAle. This is a style that pairs perfectly with the warm summer weather. Cheers!

 

From the Brewery Vivant site:

"There was a time in old world France when nearly every family farm had a brewery.  A necessary part of farm life was to provide a ration of beer to sustain and nourish the laborers, and beer was safer to drink than the water of the time.  Farmhand is our interpretation of what these rustic beers must have been like.  It is slightly cloudy from being made with raw un-malted grains and a simple single infusion of mash procedure."

Here we go...

 

Pour - bright golden in appearance with a solid stream of bubbles heading upwards. Head it a good inch or so of tiny bubbles all smashed together. Not a bad looking pour by any means. 


Aroma - grainy, cereals, some definite yeasty spiciness along with some hints of citrus. It has a faint bit of sourness to it as well. 


Taste - the sour graininess is what I taste first followed by the spiciness from the Belgian yeast used with this beer. It's a very refreshing combo and the finish is very dry. Their is some hints at lemons and oranges and a bit of sweetness here and there. The spiciness and light body of this beer is what really make it great. This was a beer brewed for the folks that worked the fields during the summertime. I've come away satisfied and my thirst is quenched so I'd say its certainly done it's job.

 

Overall - not the easiest style to do well. Brewery Vivant has put together a very solid saison with Farm Hand and if you dig this style you should certainly give this one a shot. It's a perfect beer for warm weather...and not so bad the rest of the year either.

 

Would I buy more of it? - yes, I would. I think the style is perfect during summer time and cans make it that much more portable. 

Note - Brewery Vivant is currently canning Solitude (Belgian Dark Ale)Triomphe (Belgian IPA) and Farm Hand (Saison)

    

 


Can Scale:
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Farm Hand
Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Brewery: Brewery Vivant
City: 
Grand Rapids, Michigan  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: ???
Date: September 16th, 2011

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Wednesday, September 7th 2011

Thirsty Beaver
(Tree Brewing Company)

 

You simply have to hand it to Tree Brewing for putting together label art that goes so well with the name Thirsty Beaver. It'd be hard to pass this up in the beer aisle. I know I couldn't, which is why I grabbed a few cans when I was at the BC Liquor Store in Vancouver, British Columbia not long ago. It truly is amazing how much great (canned) beer is available in BC. It's definitely the Colorado of Canada when it comes to canned craft beers!

 

From the Tree Brewing site:

 

"Our most popular beer! A smooth amber ale. Medium bodied and bursting with flavour, this beer is clean to the finish."

 

Here we go...

 

Pour - dark amber with a great looking inch of head. Carbonation looks spot on and the appearance is clean and clear. This looks lovely and won't last long - I can already tell.

 

Aroma - biscuity malt, bread dough, caramel, brown sugar, burnt sugar, ice cream cones.

 

Taste - sweet and malty with a bit of toastiness, almost reminds me of a brown ale as its got a lot of character. So smooth and clean and quite thirst quenching at a very reasonable 5%. Love the malt profile of this beer, its sweet but not too sweet and brings about so much flavor. When beers taste like this I'm okay that there isn't a whole lot of hop presence. Great beer. Wish I had more.

 

Overall - it's no wonder this is their most popular beer. It's smooth, easy to drink and very tasty. Amber Ales tend to be the go to brew for many a beer drinker that has yet to really test their palate with something uber-hopped, barrel-aged or strong enough to be served in a snifter. Regardless of where you are with your beer drinking this is a beer you won't be sorry you tried. You may even try a few more...just to make sure. As amber ales go, this is better than most.

 

Note - Thirsty Beaver was given it's name in 2005 after years of simply being called Amber Ale. The brewery itself opened its doors in it's doors in 1996. They're celebrating 15 years of brewing in beautiful Kelowna, British Columbia this year. Cheers!


Check out Canada.CraftCans.Com!



Can Scale:
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Thirsty Beaver
Style: American Amber/Red Lager
Brewery: Tree Brewing Company
City: 
Kelowna, British Columbia  
Country: 
Canada  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Maris Otter barley, Crystal malt
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: September 7th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Tuesday, September 6th 2011

Over Ale
(Half Acre Beer Company)

Half Acre’s third canned brew arrived in February 2011 in the form of Over Ale. It’s fair to say their other two canned beers Gossamer Golden Ale and Daisy Cutter Pale Ale – are pretty much adored by the Craft Cans team, so our expectations are calibrated to “very high” for this one.    

From the Half Acre site:

"This brown beer is brewed with six varieties of malted barley and balanced with three generous hop additions. You'll find a big malt body with bitter bones. Enjoy this beer."

 


the canning line at Half Acre

 

Here we go...

 

Pour - deep, dark brown color with a big but loose tan head on the top.  Lacing was minimal as the head broke down fairly quickly.

 

Aroma - bready, almost earthy malt with a little molasses and toffee sweetness.  Just a touch of alcohol perks up the sinuses, which is surprising for a 6% brown ale.  

 

Taste - caramel malt sweetness takes center stage with each sip and is followed by some fig-like sweetness before the bittering hops dash across the palate.  Some brown sugar and light maple syrup sweetness lingered for a while between sips.  There’s quite a bit going on here. 

 


Half Acre Beer Company

 

Overall - a pretty complex and very enjoyable brown ale.  If you chug this one cold you’ll miss a lot.  The interplay between the different malts works well, and the different sweet tastes kept it interesting down to the bottom of the glass.  If you can’t quite pin down all the flavors you won’t be alone, but the words running across the top of the can seem to give us an out:  “Quite possibly exactly what you think it is.” 

 

Note - Half Acre may be the quintessential neighborhood craft brewery.  It takes up less than a quarter of a block in a Chicago neighborhood, has a small retail area with two taps to fill your growler on your way home, and a cooler from which you can snare a couple pint cans to smuggle on to the golf course.   

 

      

 


Can Scale:
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Over Ale
Style: American Brown Ale
Brewery: Half Acre Beer Company
City: 
Chicago, Illinois  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: September 6th, 2011

Posted by Trent


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Tuesday, August 30th 2011

BRIK Irish-Style Red Ale
(MillKing It Productions)

 

BRIK is the second release from Royal Oak, Michigan's "MillKing It Productions", their first was their AXL Pale Ale. MIP is a small production brewery that also does some contract work for nearby Rochester Mills Brewing Company by canning their Cornerstone IPA. The unique name of the brewery pays at least some homage to co-owner Scott King. 

 

From the Millking It Productions site:

 

"Whereas hops are the star in AXL, the complex harmony of malt dominates this easy drinking Red Ale. Five different malts are skillfully blended to create a medium bodied, crowd-pleasing ale. The nose breathes caramel, malt and complexity. The beer is medium bodied, has the appropriate alcohol of 4.8% and is definitely a beer deserving the title, “session beer”.


 

Here we go...

 

Pour - deep ruby brown that borders on black.  Nice big brown head on top that receded rather quickly. Good lacing - persisted throughout our sampling.

 

Aroma - sweet malt and molasses nose with some fruit notes here and there similar to raisins or dates.  

 

Taste - sweet, brown sugary malt that is typical for the style. Thin-bodied with some sweet tea flavors at the start, a little zip of carbonation across the tongue in the middle before a watery finish that leaves no aftertaste.     

 

Overall - a light-bodied beer that was very smooth going down and easy to finish.  Judging to the style this is a pretty decent red ale, though personally I find the style challenging because the sweet and sometimes fruity aroma tricks my palate into expecting a much bigger beer with a more profound flavor profile.  Still, Brik Irish-Style Red is a very drinkable beer and is one to keep on hand for friends who prefer light and mildly sweet brews.

Note - according to the MillKing It Production website the brewery will be getting a new canning line soon which will increase their production capabilities and perhaps allow them to can some new beers soon. They've just released a Belgian-style White Ale called "SNO" so perhaps we'll see that in cans? It certainly would fit their motif nicely.

 

a recent MillKing It Productions ad


Can Scale:
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BRIK Irish-Style Red Ale
Style: Irish Red Ale
Brewery: MillKing It Productions
City: 
Royal Oak, Michigan  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 4.8%
IBUs: ???
Date: August 30th, 2011

Posted by Trent


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Wednesday, August 17th 2011

483 Pale Ale
(Great River Brewery)

Great River Brewery became Iowa's first canning craft brewery in May of 2010. To date they've released four different canned offerings, all of which have been in 16 oz. pint cans. 483 Pale Ale and Roller Dam Red Ale were the brewery's first two cans released. They've also canned their Redband Stout (a stout brewed with coffee) and, as a special release for the local "Bix Street Fest", their Copper Ale.

From the Great River site:

"True to the style, our pale ale is brewed with pale malt and a touch of crystal malt which gives it that copper hue. Then we aggressively hop it with centennial hops for a big citrus hop aroma and taste. Beer for the hop lover. Nice bitterness and a good long aftertaste with a smack of grapefruit."

The CAN reads:

"Great River Brewery’s 483 Pale Ale is named after our mile marker on the mighty Mississippi. A classic American pale ale, it uses generous amounts of centennial hops and a final dry hopping of cascades, creating a bold floral and citrus aroma with a balanced malt body. "


Great River gives you the lowdown on cans right on their cans!

Here we go...

Pour - Deep, dark copper color with a loose bubbly head that sustains itself very well. 

 

Aroma -  This one has the holy trinity of my favorite hoppy ales:  citrus,  a little bit of pine, and floral notes emerge as it warms up.  A great start!  

 

Taste - Centennial hops played a major role in my transition from adjunct lager can-chaser to a craft beer hophead, and this beer is chock full of them.  Big hop bite at the start that is immediately countered by just the right amount of malt.  Not too dry,  but not too sweet either.  Finishes with some lingering bitterness that reminds me of some of my favorite IPAs.  Is this really a pale ale?  

 

Overall - I’ve thought long and hard about it and decided this is the best APA I’ve tried – canned or bottled. It drinks much more like an IPA than a pale ale but has an ABV that lets you manage more than just a couple per session. 483 Pale Ale reminds me a lot of Half Acre’s Daisy Cutter but with a bigger malt backbone. The folks at Great River and all Iowans should be very proud of this excellent brew! 

 

Note - Did you know that American Pale Ale is the craft beer style you're most likely to find in a pint can? It's true. 30% of the craft beer that is put into pint cans is American Pale Ale followed by American Red Ale (21%) and India Pale Ale (20%). 

 

 



Hops Scale:
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483 Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
Brewery: Great River Brewery
City: 
Davenport, Iowa  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Pale, Crystal
Hops: Centennial, Cascade
ABV: 5.3%
IBUs: 48
Date: August 17th, 2011

Posted by Trent


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Thursday, July 21 2011

1811 Pre-Prohibition Lager
(Fort George Brewery)

1811 Pre-Prohibition Lager is the "Official Bicentennial Beer of Astoria" and one of two beers now being canned by Fort George! Looking at this can you may find yourself saying, "what is all that?". It's a timeline detailing the history of Astoria - yes, that Astoria, the one where The Goonies was filmed. You can learn quite a bit from this can of beer and I'm enjoying checking it all out while I drink this beer. Did you know that the Astoria Brewery first opened back in 1872? Hmmm, I had no idea...

From the Fort George site:

"Many West Coast brewers in the 19th Century had no ice, so they improvised an effervescent beer by brewing lager yeasts at higher than normal temperatures..Described as "refreshing drink much consumed by the laboring classes’, it’s the inspiration for 1811 lager."

Here we go...

Pour - golden straw color, very pale when held to the light. Lots of little bubble making their way to the surface and forming a very nice, foamy, white head that sticks quite well to the inside of the glass.

 

Aroma - some citrus, a bit cereal and grainy sweetness as well as some hints of honey and biscuit mix.

 

Taste - the tangy zip of citrus hits the tongue first and is followed by an earthy hop flavor that is slightly astringent and mineral-like. Dry and crisp and definitely refreshing. This a very solid lager with some great malt flavors and spicy Saaz hop notes. The addition of those Centennials also plays a nice background role in the more pronounced citrus flavors in this beer. The more I drink this the more I like it. I'm left lapping my tongue a bit and trying to make it more tastes to describe. As this warms a bit the sweetness begins to come out more which makes me want to drink a little faster as I'm enjoying this nice and cold. 

 

Overall - if you're looking for a quality lager than this is it. One full pint of well-brewed American lager in each and every can. Fort George did a great job with this brew and that can sure can teach you a lot about the history of Astoria!

 

Would I buy more of it? - sure thing. Great beer, another canned winner from Fort George. Very well done!

 

Note - Fort George Brewery began canning their beers earlier this year. To date they've released two canned offerings; 1811 Pre-Prohibition Lager and their Vortex IPA. 

A while back we made some mock-ups of cans to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of The Goonies - yeah, we're pretty sure the folks at Fort George are sick of Goonies references...but...we were pretty proud of them, especially "Hey You Geuze!".

 

 


Can Scale:
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1811 Pre-Prohibition Lager
Style: American Adjunct Lager
Brewery: Fort George Brewery
City: 
Astoria, Oregon  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: 2-row malted barley and cracked maize
Hops: Domestic Saaz, Centennial hops
ABV: 5.1%
IBUs: ???
Date: July 21st, 2011

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Thursday, July 14th 2011

Johan the Barleywine
(Sun King Brewing Company)

A very special beer in a very special package. Thank you very much to the folks at Sun King for giving us the opportunity to try a beer that means so much to them. We're honored. Johan the Barleywine is a much anticipated and very limited release. Only 700 cans were released and once they are all gone...well, you know that saying. This is likely the world's first canned barleywine and the first of what will likely be many specialty beers to grace the inside of Sun King's specially customizable cans. You can read more below..

From Sun King:

"Named in honor of a dearly departed friend who was instrumental in both Dave and Clay's brewing careers. Johan the Barleywine was the first beer ever brewed at Sun King Brewing Company in July of 2009.

The beer was cellared immediately; half of it was released on tap for the brewery's first anniversary in July 2010 and half of it is being released in cans for the brewery's second anniversary on July 1, 2011. Sun King Brewing Company pioneered the customizable can in early 2011 and Johan is the first barleywine ever to be released in cans. This particular recipe will never be made again."

Here we go...

 

Pour - dark chestnut in color with good carbonation that leaves an off-white head about a half an inch in thickness. Some lacing and some legs inside the glass, this shows its strength pretty early on.

 

Aroma - lots of dark fruits, raisins and prunes, some slight booziness that tickles the nose and an endless amount of caramel, burnt sugar and baked apples. Perhaps a bit of sherry and rum cake as well along with what most surely is a ton of malt going into this brew. This one is a sipper and the smell alone will tell you that.

 

Taste - brown sugar, dried dark fruits, molasses with some alcohol heat on the tongue. Very smooth with loads of sweet flavors all melding together. Lots of layers unfolding as this one warms a bit. Toffee and caramel along with baked apples hit the palate and despite the strength this is very clean and crisp and soft on the tongue all at the same time. A very satisfying barleywine that certainly hits all the marks for the style and has my head, tongue and stomach all happy too. The folks at Sun King should be proud.

 

Overall - at 2 years of age Johan the Barleywine is certainly showing it's complexity and smoothness. This was certainly a sipper and definitely a soul-warmer. Cheers to 2 years of great beers and many more to come!

 

Would I buy more of it? - a moot point. If possible I surely would.

 

Note - an English Barleywine, compared to an American Barleywine, "places less emphasis on hop character than the American Barleywine and features English hops. English versions can be darker, maltier, fruitier, and feature richer specialty malt flavors than American Barleywines." - bjcp.com

 




Can Scale:
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Johan the Barleywine
Style: English Barleywine
Brewery: Sun King Brewing Company
City: 
Indianapolis, Indiana  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 9.9%
IBUs: 60
Date: July 14th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Thursday, July 7th 2011

Great Crescent Belgian Style Wit
(Great Crescent Brewery)

 

We finally got our hands on some Great Crescent cans! Thanks to a very generous beer lover that was able to hook us up with a nice variety pack of their beers! Great Crescent is special in the canned beer world as they're not only canning some amazing beers but they're also utilizing a can that was graphically designed for anything they can possibly put in it - just stick a label on it and there you go! 

 

From the Great Crescent site:

"Great Crescent Witbier is refreshingly crisp wheat-based ale with a slightly dry, tart finish. It has moderate sweetness with spicy aroma’s and a hint of coriander and citrus. This beer is very light in color with a dense, white head and some cloudiness from a special yeast strain.

This beer style has been around for over 400 years and originated in Belgium. The style died out about 60 years ago and has gained favor by many beer drinkers over the past 10-15 years.."


Here we go...

 

Pour - cloudy, pale orangish-yellow in appearance with a half inch or so of stark white head. Suspended bubbles and a glowing opaqueness make this a very nice beer to behold. A bit of a mystery that draws one in...

 

Aroma - spicy, sweet, pears, green apple, soap, lilac and some cloves. Very aromatic and just about worthy of an incense of perfume. Love the way this beer smells.

 

Taste - immediately this is soft on the palate with subtle fruit flavors like pears, apples, melon and grapes along with a bit of spiciness from the coriander. This definitely has a subdued clove flavor and a nice, mellow sweetness. Nothing overpowering whatsoever, just a very easy drinking and very refreshing beer. 

 

Overall - considering this is a style without much to hide behind we really enjoyed this and freshness and quality is top notch. Not knowing much about Great Crescent I'd say we're off to a very good start and those other beers in the fridge don't have much time left...

Would I buy more of it? - yes. Excellent beer with lots of great flavors and perfect for a warm summer night - like this one! Cheers!

Availability - May - September

Note - Great Crescent is one of three breweries in the country can their beers in a multi-style can. What this means is that they stick a label on a generic can denoting the style and thus they're able to use the same can for multiple styles - including the country's first, and only, canned bourbon barrel-aged stout. The other breweries are Sun King Brewing Company (IN) and Dolores River Brewery (CO). Cheers!

 


Great Crescent Belgian Style Wit
Style: Witbier
Brewery: Great Crescent Brewery
City: 
Aurora, Indiana  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: ???
IBUs: ???
Date: July 7th, 2011

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Wednesday, July 6th 2011

Bengali Tiger
(Sixpoint Craft Ales)

 

A very much anticipated canned release from Sixpoint. Their not so little kitty is now available in a can. How sweet it is. This will be the last of the four current Sixpoint cans that we're reviewing as it was the hardest to get our hands on - we're guessing people are loving this stuff and it's flying off the shelves! 

 

From the Sixpoint site:

"The Bengali Tiger entices you with an aroma of citrus, pine and spice and unleashes a wave of bitterness upfront. Yet it strides forward at a steady pace, smooth as a tiger's gait, and finishes balanced.

 Notice the lacing of stripes around the glass as you finish your pint - it's the mark of the Bengali Tiger."


Here we go...

 

Pour - dark auburn with some brilliant red and orange highlights. A nice half inch of thick white foam cover the top of the pour and the streaking lacing begins to take hold.

 

Aroma - pineapple, mango, lemon zest along with caramel and honey. Not an "in your face" hoppiness, it's much more subtle yet very much predominant.  

 

Taste - light pine, pineapple, lemon rind along with brown sugar and honey. The more I drink this the more the taste grows on me. At first this is a very balanced, almost malt forward beer but then the hops come marching in and "bam" you are struck with a citrusy, tangy tongue ringing. This is an IPA that needs to be taken at more than face value. It has some depth and kitty has some claws. 

 

Overall - definitely a delicious IPA. This is not an over the top, crazy hoppy, extremely piney and grapefruity example of the style to so be forewarned. This is balanced with a reasonable amount of hops but oh so much more. Give this beer a chance and you, and you're palate, will be quite happy you did.

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. It would be sweet if they put out a four-pack with one of each of their four currently canned offerings. Until then I'll keep picking up four-packs of each one individually - they're all that good.

Note - Sixpoint is currently canning four of their beers. These include; The Crisp (Pilsner)Sweet Action (Cream Ale), Righteous Ale (Rye Beer) and Bengali Tiger (American IPA). Collect and enjoy them all! Cheers!

 

    



Hops Scale:
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Can Scale:
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Bengali Tiger
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Sixpoint Craft Ales
City: 
Brooklyn, New York  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 66
Date: July 6th, 2011

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Wednesday, June 21st 2011

Solitude
(Brewery Vivant)

What is there not to love about big cans of Belgian-style beer being brewed in the American midwest? Brewery Vivant is a shining example of how the craft brewing industry is really branching out and the beer consuming populous has a palate that has branched out considerably as well. Solitude is one of three beers they are currently canning and they've got a bunch more on tap at the brewery. 

 

From the Brewery Vivant site:

"A deep mahogany colored beer that is made in the tradition of the famous brewing monks of the Abbeys of Belgium. It is malt forward with hints of caramel, pear & raisin."

Here we go...

 

Pour - a dark chestnut color in appearance with some ruby red highlights. The head on this is almost two inches thick and fades to a thin ring around the glass. Mysterious and enticing.


Aroma - cherries and baked apples along with honey and burnt sugar. Lots of what they tend to refer to as "stewed fruits" and definitely raising and prunes. Condensed fruit basically. I quite like the aroma as it spells out complexity when it comes to taste.


Taste - sweet and juicy and light on the tongue. Lots of those burnt sugar and dark fruit flavors, definitely the cherries and the raisins. Lots of flavors to digest both metaphorically and physically. Not overly sweet with some very nice malty undertones and semi-dry finish. 

 

Overall - personally, I really enjoyed this beer. I loved the dark fruit flavors and the complexity of a beer that doesn't feel overly heavy on the palate. It wasn't cloyingly sweet and it was certainly something new out of a can for me. It tasted very fresh and was surprisingly thirst quenching. 

 

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. I need to get out to Brewery Vivant some day and try the rest of their beers on tap. A big "cheers" goes out to Trent in Michigan for hooking us up with this and other midwestern canned craft goodness!

Note - Brewery Vivant is currently canning Solitude (Belgian Dark Ale), Triomphe (Belgian IPA) and Farmhand (Saison). 


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Solitude
Style: Belgian Dark Ale
Brewery: Brewery Vivant
City: 
Grand Rapids, Michigan  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: ???
Date: June 22nd, 2011

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Monday, June 20th 2011

The Crisp
(Sixpoint Craft Ales)

I'm still finding a bit hard to believe that Sixpoint cans are actually a real thing. When I visited the tiny brewery back in 2005, when it was hardly a year old, I'd have never guessed they'd be selling cans of their beer in the not too distant future. In the short history of the brewery they've definitely earned the respect of the beer drinking populous in NYC and beyond. These guys are hard working and care about not only the beer they're brewing but also about being a part of a community. If you're ever in New York definitely make the trip out to Brooklyn and visit this brewery. Cheers!

 

From the back of the can:

"There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us. Crisp Lager has nothing to hide behind - no makeup to cover up any flaws. Raw ingredients and their essence, full and unabated...uninhibited...CRISP."


Here we go...

 

Pour - golden, a little darker than straw colored with a nice inch of fluffy white head on top. This is clean and clear and looks mighty tasty.

 

Aroma - wooah! Talk about a sulfuric, earthy aroma kicking out of this can. This is the real deal. There are some grassy/citrusy hoppy notes and light maltiness as well but more than anything this one smells like a very fresh, well-brewed lager beer.

 

Taste - from the first sip of this beer you'll know you've entered the lager zone. Void of the sweetness associated with many ales this is indeed a beer that has nothing to hide behind. This bounces off the tongue with nice floral/grassy hop flavors, a bit of a mineral bitterness and just a touch of malt. Each sip seems to satisfy just a little bit more. This has a very defining dry, earthy sweet finish and nice bite. I am a fan.

 

Overall - very enjoyable pilsner. This is indeed "crisp" and very refreshing. If you're a pilsner person this will certainly make you happy as there aren't too many top notch American versions of this style, especially ones that are canned.

Would I buy more of it? - definitely. Great beer. Loved all 16 oz. of it and will certainly be buying more cubes!

Note - Sixpoint is currently canning four of their beers. These include; The Crisp (Pilsner)Sweet Action (Cream Ale), Righteous Ale (Rye Beer) and Bengali Tiger (American IPA). Collect and enjoy them all! Cheers!

 

   


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
The Crisp
Style: German Pilsener
Brewery: Sixpoint Craft Ales
City: 
Brooklyn, New York  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.4%
IBUs: 42
Date: June 20th, 2011

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Friday, June 17th 2011

Righteous Ale
(Sixpoint Craft Ales)

This is definitely one of my favorite brews from the folks at Sixpoint. Righteous Ale, or what I used to know as Righteous Rye, is a beer I fell in love with years ago when I had my first pint. I can't express how excited I am to now be able to buy this beer at my local beer store and enjoy it whenever I want. It is indeed a good time to be a craft beer lover!

 

From the Sixpoint site:

"Rye is the tough, resilient cousin of wheat. Able to survive brutally harsh winters and acidic souls, it was the saving grace and staple of central and northern European cultures. Where wheat and barley withered and died, rye survived.

 This tough resilient cereal grain doesn't have the gentle sweetness of barley or wheat. Why should it It lives a tough life of survival against the elements. Yet underneath its tough exterior is a unique, signature style of flavor that has remained dormant in the brewing world like scattered seeds underneath a blanket of snow.

We decided to not overlook this gem of a species. What we discovered was Righteous Ale."


Here we go...

 

Pour - dark amber to chestnut in color with a good inch of off-white foam on top that leaves some lacing in what little bit of my glass is left unfilled. You've got to live 16 oz. cans! When held to the light this beer shines bright orange and auburn. Quite nice to look at really.

 

Aroma - nice fresh hop aroma is the first thing that greets my nose. Hi nose, I'm hops. Hi hops, I love you. Sort of a lemon, lime, orange citrusy smell along with some pineapple. There is also some nice notes of honey and molasses.

 

Taste - that first sip will likely make many, many beer lovers happy. This is a full-bodied, full-flavored beer that has a lot of nice things going on. First is the pronounced hoppiness that hits the tongue and numbs it. Plenty of citrus and piney notes from that are followed by the spicy, dry and bitter flavor that rye imparts. I'm a big fan of rye in beers and this one is exceptionally done. A good amount of maltiness makes keeps both the rye and the hops in check and rounds things out nicely with a sweet, brown sugary finish. 

 

Overall - put everything together and you've got a great beer. Rye beers are not the most popular beers on the American craft beer landscape and if you're a fan you've got to give this one a shot. This beer should also please the palate of folks that like a hoppy amber ale or IPAs in general. I think that with this beer coming to cans I can say that one of my beer dreams has come true.

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely, positively. Once these four cans are gone, which won't take too long, I'll be buying more...much more!

Note - Sixpoint is currently canning four of their beers. These include; The Crisp (Pilsner)Sweet Action (Cream Ale), Righteous Ale (Rye Beer) and Bengali Tiger (American IPA). Collect and enjoy them all! Cheers!

  


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Righteous Ale
Style: Rye Beer
Brewery: Sixpoint Craft Ales
City: 
Brooklyn, New York  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Rye
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.4%
IBUs: 6
Date: June 17th, 2011

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Monday, June 13th 2011

Gossamer Golden Ale
(Half Acre Beer Company)

Another work of art both in the can and the can itself. Half Acre truly does some great things as far as graphics go on both their cans and their bottles. Whoever the artist is he/she is doing an awesome job. I'll be sad when this can is gone as I've got no others to enjoy and Chicago is far away...

 

From the Half Acre site:

"A drinker. This Golden Ale is a quality travel companion that aims to please with subtlety and aroma pop."

Here we go...

 

Pour - a bit opaque in appearance. Yellowish-orange in color. It looks almost "soft" with about a half inch of head on top. Nothing to worry about coming out of the can.

 

Aroma - an unexpected dose of fresh hop aroma comes at me as I approach the glass. Wow. Nice citrus and tropical fruit aromas along with some subtle malt sweetness. This has some pineapple and mango going on...I'm ready to dive in.

 

Taste - soft on the tongue and easy on the palate right from the get go. Those tropical fruit flavors come out nicely, not strong at all, just right for a beer of this strength. Everything is subtle, the malty sweetness and the hop profile sit perfectly. The balancing act they play is also performed almost flawlessly. 

 

Overall - one of the best blonde ales I've ever had. This is the benchmark for sessionable beers. I am blown away by how drinkable and tasty Gossamer truly is. If you've not had this beer than you are missing out on a piece of brewer's art. Well done Half Acre!

 

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. Just like their Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, this would be on the grocery list each week if I lived in Chicago.

Note - Half Acre also cans their Daisy Cutter Pale Ale and Over Ale (a brown ale). 


Can Scale:
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Gossamer Golden Ale
Style: American Blonde Ale
Brewery: Half Acre Beer Company
City: 
Chicago, Illinois  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 4.2%
IBUs: ???
Date: June 13th, 2011

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Sunday, June 12th 2011

Kold Lager
(Tallgrass Brewing Company)

I picked up some cans of Köld while I was out in Kansas not that long ago only to realize, just recently, that they've apparently stopped canning this beer. We'll categorize this as "retired" unless we hear otherwise. It's too bad as it was a great beer and the only lager they were brewing...which may have led to the decision to not can it anymore. Perhaps they'll bring it back? If not, they brew plenty of other good beers. Cheers! 

 

From the Tallgrass site:

 

"Köld is a crisp, easy-drinking lager with a traditional Pilsner malt aroma and subtle notes of honey and citrus. Köld is brewed using the finest German malts and hops, making it reminiscent of German-style lagers."


Here we go...


Pour - floods the glass with a very pale, yellow, straw color. The head is a foamy half-inch of white foam on top. Clean and clear in appearance with some tiny bubbles at the bottom.

 

Aroma - grainy with some cereal notes and a bit of lemon peel. Not a whole lot in the nose but that is to be expected from the style.

 

Taste - crisp and light are the first two descriptors that come to mind. Some nice sweet honey flavors come out along with the grainy/maltiness that came out in the aroma. With this style we're looking for something that's light-bodied and dry in the finish without being too sweet or too flat. This hits all the marks quite well. Not a lot of malt y sweetness on the tongue but the carbonation and body make for a very refreshing beer. 

 

Overall - easy drinking, light-bodied lager that is adjunct-free. This is not an easy style to produce so kudos to the folks at Tallgrass for successfully concocting this one. This dances down your throat and leaves you thirsty for more without being too full to throw your hand back in the cooler. 

 

Would I buy more of it? - seems kind of trivial now unfortunately. 

 

Note - Tallgrass currently cans their IPAAle, KöldOasisBuffalo Sweat and Halcyon Unfiltered Wheat beers. We're still working our way through all of them! The folks at Tallgrass are good people. Cheers!

 

  

     

 

 

 


Can Scale:
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Kold Lager
Style: German Pilsener
Brewery: Tallgrass Brewing Company
City: 
Manhattan, Kansas  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.0%
IBUs: 16
Date: June 12th, 2011

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Saturday, June 11th 2011

Tallgrass Ale
(Tallgrass Brewing Company)

Once in awhile your palate asks for a break and a straightforward brew calls your name. Tallgrass Brewing's Ale might just be what the beer doctor ordered when this is the case. It's a malty delight with no frills, just all out goodness from their flagship brew. 

From the Tallgrass site:

"The distinctive look and taste of Tallgrass Ale comes from our unique blend of German, English, and American-style malts and a generous helping of both American and traditional English hops. These ingredients, our English brewer’s yeast, and the Flint Hills’ excellent brewing water gives Tallgrass Ale a distinctive, toffee-highlighted taste and smooth profile that is always drinkable."

Here we go...

Pour - dark, mahogany and quite clean. The head is quick to fade and before too long there is nothing left but the beer itself.

 

Aroma - toasted brown bread, dark roasted malt, chicory, coffee grounds and cocoa.

 

Taste - light and smooth on the tongue, not a lot of carbonation in this brew but it works well as the dominance is a strong, sweet malt profile. This is toasty and even has hints at smokiness. In the finish I get some chocolate mousse, cocoa powder and espresso (tiramisu?). Super easy to drink and very flavorful. 

 

Overall - malty goodness in a big can. This has a lot of flavor compared to others in this style category and certainly leans heavy on the malt side. If you like brown ales you'll love this brew. 

 

Would I buy more of it? - yes I would. I'm a big fan of this seemingly straightforward brew. What can I say, I like a lot of different styles.

 

Note - Tallgrass currently cans their IPAAleKöldOasisBuffalo Sweat and Halcyon Unfiltered Wheat beers. We're still working our way through all of them! The folks at Tallgrass are good people. Cheers!

 

  

     

 

 


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Tallgrass Ale
Style: American Amber/Red Ale
Brewery: Tallgrass Brewing Company
City: 
Manhattan, Kansas  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 4.4%
IBUs: 20
Date: June 11th, 2011

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Thursday, June 9th 2011

Sweet Action
(Sixpoint Craft Ales)

 

Ahh...my first can of Sixpoint beer. I absolutely love this little brewery and am beyond excited by their foray into canning. No longer do I need to rely on sporadic draught availability at my local beer bars. Cheers to Shane and the crew down in Brooklyn for taking the leap to cans and making their delicious concoctions available to a wider, and more mobile, audience!

 

From the Sixpoint site:

"Sweet Action is an idea, a concept. It is a simple representation of what makes beer great - the marriage of barley and hops, in a harmonious balance or your mind, body and soul. The experience is transcendental. You must experience it yourself.

Sweet is from the barley malt - maltose - the sugar that coats your tongue like honey and reminds you of the sweet, relaxed side of life.

Action is from the hops - the bittering spice - the herb that brushes your palate clean with every sip and reminds you of the active, energetic side of life.

You have heard of the wonders and magic of the Legend, but have you experienced Sweet Action?"


Here we go...

 

Pour - wow, this is almost ruby red in color. Lots of bright orange, copper and auburn hues with almost an inch of foam on top. Super clean and much darker and richer in color than one might expect from the style.

 

Aroma - how many cream ales do you know that are dry hopped? This is the only one I know. Sweet and malty smelling with some nice citrusy hop aromas. It even has a bit of a spicy aroma, akin to a saison, to it as well. 

 

Taste - this is like silk on the tongue. It's slick and sweet with some great hop bitterness as it glides through your mouth. Sweet Action also has a tanginess that hangs on as your go from sip to sip. Some floral and citrus notes run in the background but so does the malt profile. Nothing total dominates flavor-wise and the balance is spot on. Love it.

 

Overall - hoppier than your average cream ale but with a smooth sweetness that is expected of style. Very drinkable and delicious to say the least. Everything falls into place quite nicely with this brew and all I can say is that my first experience with Sixpoint in cans is a very positive one. If you've tried cream ales before and weren't a huge fan I implore you to pick up some Sweet Action as its a different take on this uniquely American beer style. 

Would I buy more of it? - definitely. Great beer. Loved all 16 oz. of it and will certainly be buying more cubes!

Note - Sixpoint is currently canning four of their beers. These include; The Crisp (Pilsner)Sweet Action (Cream Ale), Righteous Ale (Rye Beer) and Bengali Tiger (American IPA). Collect and enjoy them all! Cheers!

 

  


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Sweet Action
Style: Cream Ale
Brewery: Sixpoint Craft Ales
City: 
Brooklyn, New York  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.2%
IBUs: 33
Date: June 9th, 2011

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Sunday, May 21st 2011

Eddy Out Pale Ale
(Kettlehouse Brewing Company)

Another pint can from the folks in Missoula. Eddy Out is a Pale Ale that's been around for awhile. If you're not familiar with Kettlehouse, they can three of their beers. If you end up in Montana go looking for this Pale Ale as well as their Cold Smoke Scotch Ale and their Double Haul IPA, both are very good. Cheers!

From the Kettlehouse site:

"Eddy Out Pale Ale (the beer formerly known as Bitters Pale Ale) has been a favorite at the Kettlehouse Brewery since 1996. Brewed with a healthy dose of Cascade aroma hops, Eddy Out is a classic American Pale Ale. This style is characterized by a citrusy American hoppiness balanced with a slight biscuit flavored malt character. The light copper color in this ale comes from caramelized malt which also aids in head retention. All this to describe a highly quaffable brew with a crisp hop finish. Great on a hot summer day, or a cold winter day while dreaming of a hot summer day."

 

Here we go...


Pour - light golden or straw colored with a good inch of fluffy white head on top and some lacing beginning to streak the inside of the glass. Looks clean and clear and as it should Nice looking beer.

 

Aroma - lemons, fresh cut grass, orange peel, tea leaves, mango along with toast and honey.

 

Taste - one sip and the citrusy hops certainly shine. This has some zip to it with the hops really being the focal point and a solid, yet subdued, doughy, malt backbone providing the necessary balance. A little tangy and lemony in the finish. Very crisp and refreshing and just the way I like my pale ales.

 

Overall - This on leans a little more towards an IPA with it's assertive hop profile. If you like you're pale ales hoppy you'll be happy with this one. Definitely worth picking up and enjoying somewhere outdoors on a warm sunny day!

 

Would I buy more of it? - definitely. I'd love to get some more of all of Kettlehouse's beers. I haven't been back to Montana since 2000, it's way overdue. 

 

Note - If you're not familiar with kayaking lingo, the term "eddy out" means to enter an eddy to take a break from rapids or to get a better look downstream. An eddy usually forms on the protected side of a rock or along the bank of a river. The back of the can provides quite a bit of information as well...

 

 

  


Eddy Out Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
Brewery: Kettle House Brewing Company
City: 
Missoula, Montana  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Cascade
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 50
Date: May 22nd, 2011

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Monday, May 16th 2011

Triomphe
(Brewery Vivant)

 

America's first ever canned Belgian-style IPA! Brewery Vivant is a new brewery located in a beautifully restored historic building in Grand Rapids, Michigan - a city which is quickly becoming a serious beer destination. Brewery Vivant is focusing on Belgian-style beers and has canned a traditional Saison/Farmhouse Ale called Farm Hand as well as a Belgian-style Pale Ale called Solitude. We can't wait to try them all and certainly look forward to future canned releases from the brewery.

 

From the Brewery Vivant site:

"This beer is made with a classic Belgian style yeast strain that gives the complexity and slight sweetness you may expect from a Belgian style ale, but then reaches deeper providing a smack-down of American hops.  Served in a large tulip glass to capture and focus the hop aromas."

Here we go...

 

Pour - dark amber with some auburn highlights, a stark white inch of fluff sits on top and leaves some well formed lacing as it slowly dissipates.


Aroma - I smelled the familiar pine and citrus as soon as the can was cracked open. If you like your Belgian-style IPAs heavy on the hops this one is for you. Lots of great hop aroma is also accompanied by some spiciness and some nice floral notes. This smells very, very good.


Taste - one sip and we're in uncharted canned craft beer territory. The delicate spiciness of the Belgian yeast used in this brew shines through almost immediately in the first sip. The citrus, pine, orange and pineapple flavors that the West Coast hops impart are all extremely fresh and sharp. The finish is a bit dry on the tongue with some of that spicy, yeast flavors sticking around with the bitterness of the hops. Wow, this is just an all-around great tasting beer. It's thirst quenching, refreshing and just plain delicious. 

 

Overall - This is a style I've come to enjoy more and more and am very happy to see it make its way to cans. Excellent job by the folks at Brewery Vivant! If you've not yet had a Belgian-style IPA or just haven't had this one yet I definitely highly recommend it. It's a great example of the style.

 

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. If I lived within 3 hours of this brewery I'd be making a trip there this weekend to try some of this, and their other beers on tap, and also take some more home with me. Having only one can of this is just a tease!

Note - Belgian-style India Pale Ales have become increasingly popular both here in the US as well as in Belgium. More and more breweries in both countries are trying their hand in brewing this relatively new style of beer. Belgian IPAs tend to be a little sweeter than traditional American IPAs and are brewed with American hops and a Belgian yeast strain - which adds a spiciness and a flavor I've only ever been able to describe as that of, well, Belgian yeast. Combining the floral, citrus and pine of American hops with the unique flavors of the Belgian yeast has been a real success story as the cross-cultural globalization of beer continues to move forward. 

 




Hops Scale:
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Monk Scale:
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Can Scale:
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Triomphe
Style: Belgian IPA
Brewery: Brewery Vivant
City: 
Grand Rapids, Michigan  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: ???
Date: May 16th, 2011

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Friday, May 13th 2011

Narragansett Summer Ale
(Narragansett Brewing Company)

Summer Ale is the latest, and newest, seasonal canned release from the folks at Narragansett. They've now released four different seasonal cans which have all been very good. We're happy to see Narragansett have so much success with this seasonal lineup. The addition of their first ever summer ale, brewed with almighty citra hops no less, is definitely going to serve them well. Cheers!

 

From the Narragansett site:

"The Summer Ale pours golden, producing a generous white head, and perfect carbonation. The malt flavor is smooth and subtle, balanced out by a crisp hop bitterness. Aromas of mixed fruits are very evident, but mild on the palate. The superior drinkability and lower alcohol content make this beer perfect for summer sessions on the beach, the boat, the backyard patio, or at the ballgame."

Here we go...

 

Pour - glass is filled with a yellowish, straw color with some golden highlights. Nice large, foamy, white head on top. Looks clean and clear with nice carbonation. 

 

Aroma - hints of hay, lemon, pale malt, wet grass and Rice Krispies.

Taste - light and refreshing. The first two words that come to mind, seriously. Very crisp, it dances on the tongue. Its a bit citrusy (lemony), a bit malty sweet but neither is in anyway dominating. Delicate in flavor and balance. At only 24 IBUs the hoppiness is pretty subdued with no real bitterness to speak of. It has a biscuity, malty flavor that provides a bit of tanginess. Very clean taste with a slightly dry finish.

Overall - this is a very well put together blonde ale. At only 4.2% alcohol this is an excellent candidate for the beach or an afternoon BBQ. Plenty of flavor to keep you interested but nothing heavy or overpowering. Again, this is light and refreshing which is perfect for the season. A great summer ale from the folks at Narragansett.

 

Would I buy more of it? - I would and I will. The price for a six-pack is hard to pass up and summer has just begun. The hottest days are ahead and this beer at 16 oz. a time is the way to go!

Note - According to the Narragansett site, the draft version of this beer is brewed in small batches at Trinity Brew House in Providence and Cottrell Brewery in Pawcatuck, CT while the actual tall boy cans are brewed at High Falls Brewery in Rochester, NY.

 

       
Narragansett's other seasonal canned releases (click a card)

 


Narragansett Summer Ale
Style: American Blonde Ale
Brewery: Narragansett Brewing Company
City: 
Providence, Rhode Island  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Two-row pale malt
Hops: Citra
ABV: 4.2%
IBUs: 24
Date: May 13th, 2011

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Thursday, May 12th 2011

Vortex IPA
(Fort George Brewery)

Fort George went through a pretty massive expansion recently and part of that included the addition of a canning line. The first two canned offerings to roll of that line, both in 16 oz. cans, are their 1811 Pre-Prohibition Lager and their Vortex IPA. We should hopefully see some other canned releases in the near future. 

From the Fort George site:

"India pale ale's were designed to withstand the long voyage to India. Today, it seems one has to design the IPA strong and hoppy enough to make the trip back as well. Vortex IPA is the Fort George's first foray into this strong beer category. Our IPA is made with generous additions of Cascade, Simcoe and Palisade hops throughout the brewing, fermentation and conditioning phases, balanced with heaps of organic pale malt. We designed this to not rip your taste buds off your tongue, but rather vigourously stimulate them and your palate into a lupulin-ecstacy of pleasure. During the cross-country truck trip our brewery made to find it's home in Astoria, it was nearly scattered to the cornfields of Nebraska by a tornado. We try to capture some of nature's intensity in every pint."

I've got my Vortex IPA hat on so here we go...

Pour - bright glowing orange and amber with an inch of biscuit mix-like foam on top. Nice lacing left on the sides of the glass and the carbonation levels are spot on. I'm excited.

 

Aroma - I actually caught a whiff of this as soon as I cracked open the can. An intense wave of pine and citrus flew at my nose and got me excited right away. Sticking my nose in the glass now I get some resiny, piney aromas along with some nice sweet biscuity smell as well. There is some hints of orange peel and fresh cut grass. I'm sold, lets drink this!

 

Taste - one sip and the quality of this IPA is apparent. Some time and dedication was put into making this beer. Lots of sweet, orangey flavors combine with bitter, piney hoppiness. The malt backbone backs up all those hoppy, citrusy flavors very well. Its sweet and tangy with some toasty flavors thrown in. I love this IPA and am very sad that I only have this one can to enjoy. If you're able to get cans of this beer you are truly fortunate so take advantage! 

 

Overall - excellent brew from Fort George. This is a solid, balanced IPA with some great hop aromas and flavors along with a sweet, bready malty backbone balancing it all out. I could definitely get comfortable with four cans of Vortex IPA. I think I'm addicted.

 

Would I buy more of it? - yes, yes, yes. Pint-sized cans of beer like this are a must have. I love the flavor of this IPA and the fact that its a tad high on the ABV scale just makes it even better on a cool summer evening around a campfire. 

 

Note - we absolutely love the Vortex IPA logo. It was designed by a design firm called PLAZM located in Portland, Oregon. PLAZM also did much of the design work for the branding of both of Fort George's canned offerings as well as logo design for the brewery itself.

 

 



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Vortex IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Fort George Brewery
City: 
Astoria, Oregon  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Cascade, Simcoe and Palisade
ABV: 7.4%
IBUs: 97
Date: May 12th, 2011

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Monday, April 25th 2011

Narragansett Bock
(Narragansett Brewing Company)

 

First brewed back in the '30s, Narragansett's Bock is an ode to spring and their newest canned seasonal. This is a helles bock or maibock style beer so you can expect it to be a little easier on the palate yet pack plenty of flavor. These big, green cans certainly stand out on the shelf and at $7.99 for a six-pack its certainly hard to resist!

 

From the Narragansett site:

"Gansett Bock is a deeply flavorful beer with a rich golden color and a full body.  It is drier, hoppier, and slightly more bitter than a traditional bock, but still with a relatively low hop flavor.  It offers an extremely approachable craft experience not to be confused with the double and triple bocks out on the market.  The beer pours well, producing a large creamy, persistent white head, and moderate carbonation.  Despite its full body, the flavor is not overly malty and delivers an elegant spicy character from the hops that produces a balanced, smooth finish."

Here we go...

 

Pour - clear, dark golden to amber in appearance with a thick, biscuit batter-like head on top. 

 

Aroma - caramel, raw sugar, a bit of sweet orange and plenty of maltiness. 


Taste - first sip brings on malty sweetness and a sharp, firm bite. Some nice caramel and brown sugar flavors combine with slight hints of citrus and bread dough and all come together and face a nicely put together and altogether sharp lager finish. This is not a half-assed amber lager by any means. This is a very well brewed helles bock and needs to be experienced in order to truly be appreciated. 

 

Overall - This is certainly a well put together lager with a very nice and very defined finish. Crisp and refreshing. Well done Narragansett, well done. 

 

Would I buy more of it? - I would. A six-pack of 16 oz. cans is going for about $8 here in New England. Very affordable for a quality brew. Narragansett has done very well with all of their seasonal canned releases thus far. 

Note - Narragansett has released a fall seasonal (Fest) as well as a winter seasonal (Porter) and now a spring seasonal (Bock) and will in fact also be releasing a summer seasonal in 16 oz. tall boy cans this year for the very first time. Cheers!

 

 

       


Can Scale:
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Narragansett Bock
Style: Maibock/Helles Bock
Brewery: Narragansett Brewing Company
City: 
Providence, Rhode Island  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Light and Dark Munich malts, Pilsner Malt, and Malted Wheat
Hops: Northern Brewer and Hallertau
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 32
Date: April 25th, 2011

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Wednesday, April 13th 2011

Cornerstone IPA
(Rochester Mills Beer Company)

Rochester Mills' second canned release after Lazy Daze Lager. Cornerstone IPA is brewed and canned in Royal Oak, Michigan by Millking It Productions. Looking forward to cracking open 16 oz. of IPA goodness...

From the Rochester Mills site:

 

"This unfiltered amber ale is packed full of hop bitterness, flavor and aroma. IPA is the most bitter beer style and it is enjoyed by people we refer to as “hopheads.” We dry hop this beer with a combination of English and American hop varieties for a wonderfully aromatic finish."


Here we go...

 

Pour - dark honey, amber in color. Clean, clear appearance with a decent sized bubbly white head on top. 


Aroma - caramel and orange juice in the aroma as well as some grassiness and lemon. A bit of vanilla and only a slight bit of pine. Not a whole lot of hoppiness in the nose.

 

Taste - definitely a malt forward IPA with a nice hoppiness that seems to appear at the back of the tongue as you get that first sip down. It's almost like a "hop ghost" appearing when you least expect it. Cornerstone has a good deal of caramel sweetness combining with orange and lemon citrus flavors as well as a bit of pineapple juice. 

 

Overall -  at first I wasn't sure what to think but then the hoppiness kicked in and the balanced nature of this IPA came out. Sure, it's not a crazy hop bomb but every beer has it's own unique signature so to speak. Give this one a shot, have an open mind and we're sure you'll enjoy it. 

 

Would I buy more of it? - when it comes to cans of craft beer in Michigan we've got a lot to get through. With the recent announcement that Bell's will be canning in 2012 and a number of other Great Lakes State breweries about to release cans we might need to work our way back to this one, which should be a fun quest!

 

Note - You can try a variety Rochester Mills Beer Company beers by going to their brewpub in Rochester, Michigan. They've got about a dozen brews on tap including their upcoming canned release, Milkshake Stout



Cornerstone IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Rochester Mills Brewing Company
City: 
Rochester, Michigan  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.6%
IBUs: ???
Date: April 13th, 2011

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Tuesday, February 15th 2011

Roller Dam Red Ale
(Great River Brewery)

 

The Great River Brewery started canning this past summer and in doing so they became the only craft brewery in Iowa that currently cans their beer. They've released two canned brews to day with a third on the way. If you're like me and you're wondering what a "Roller Dam" is you can go HERE for an answer. While you do that I'll be cracking open this beer.

 

From the Great River Brewery site (short and sweet):

 

"Delicious, malty ale with a hint of caramel and a peppery hop finish."


Here we go...

 

Pour - dark amber with some reddish hues indeed. A nice looking inch of off-white foam on top. It looks like its glued on there and isn't going anywhere. Clean and clear. This is looking pretty tasty.

Aroma - lots of cereal and grain aromas in the first whiff. A beer like this is definitely focused on the malts and not the hops. Slight hints of orange or lemon as well as bread dough and even cinnamon(?). 

 

Taste - lots of sweetness on the tongue and on the palate, honey and caramel combine with a slightly fruity, almost strawberry-like flavor as well. This definitely has a strong focus on all things malty and I'm actually surprised its only 5.3%, it almost drinks like a stronger brew. 

 

Overall - sweet and tasty. Not a bad brew and certainly one that a malt-head might enjoy. What I like about it is that its not cloying, overly sweet, like some red ales and it doesn't leave me looking for a water (or other beer as the case may be) chaser.

 

Would I buy more of it? - St. Patrick's Day is about 4 weeks away. Time to load up...

 

Note - The owners of the Great River Brewery (Paul Krutzfeldt & Scott Lehnert) started Old Capitol Brew Works in Iowa City in 2004. It was actually one of the first craft breweries to can their beers, putting paper labels on blank cans, but the brewpub stopped canning after a few years and focused more on food and in-house drink. The two always wanted to run a brewery, not a brewpub, so they started Great River in 2009. Great River Brewery also cans their 483 Pale Ale and will soon be canning their Red Band Stout.

 


that's a roller dam!

 


Can Scale:
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Roller Dam Red Ale
Style: Irish Red Ale
Brewery: Great River Brewery
City: 
Davenport, Iowa  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.3%
IBUs: ???
Date: February 15th, 2011

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Saturday, February 5th 2011

AXL Pale Ale
(MillKing It Productions)

From a brewery that has a name like no other comes this pint can of pale ale. AXL Pale Ale was the first release from Millking It Productions, who also brew and can beers for nearby Rochester Mills Brewing Company.   

From the Millking It Productions site:

"This classic American Style Pale Ale has been honed and perfected for over 15 years. Tens of thousands of pints have been joyfully savored. The beer has a light amber color and a medium body. The hops grab center stage and carry the flavor with a light drying citrusy palate. Although hoppy, the beer is easy drinking and contains a mid-range alcohol level of 5.8%."

Here we go...

Pour - looks great coming out of the can. Big, bright orange and amber colors shining in the glass with a big, thick fluffy off-white head that looks like it might stick around for awhile. 

 

Aroma - nice caramel malty sweetness along with some slight citrusy hop aromas and some of that biscuity/bread dough smells as well.

 

Taste - first sip presents a sweet and bitter rollercoaster. Up front this has a lot of caramel/toffee flavors but that is quickly taken over by some citrusy bitterness that isn't super piney or grapefruity but more of a straightforward hop flavor. This is the type of pale ale that leans towards an amber ale and is very approachable to beer lovers everywhere. Super balanced with just a tinge of bitterness in the finish. Well done.

 

Overall - great brew. No frills, just a well-balanced pale ale with plenty of maltiness and plenty of hoppiness. It leaves just enough hops on the tongue to keep your mouth dry and your glass held up. 

 

Would I buy more of it? - definitely. When it comes to balanced (very balanced) pale ales this one shines. I like beers like this one once in awhile to give my palate and liver a break. 

 

Note - to date Millking It Productions has canned AXL Pale Ale and Cornerstone IPA and will soon be canning BRIK Irish Red Ale and Milkshake Stout. You can learn more about Millking It Productions by going HERE.



AXL Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
Brewery: MillKing It Productions
City: 
Royal Oak, Michigan  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.8%
IBUs: ???
Date: February 5th, 2011

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Tuesday, February 1st 2011

Wind River Blonde Ale
(Wind River Brewing Company)

Our first canned craft brew from the Cowboy State. Wind River Brewing Company is a name that references the Wind River Mountains which lie next to its hometown of Pinedale (pop. 1,412) which lies in the central part of western Wyoming. 

Perhaps someone can confirm whether or not this is the same beer as Wind River's Korruption Kolsch. This beer is not mentioned on their website but I'm thinking these two are aliases. 

Here we go...

Pour - nice soft, hazy looking light orange to yellow color. Slightly cloudy when held to the light with a thin wispy head. Everything looks in place for a blonde ale.

 

Aroma - a little spicy, some apple notes, perhaps some peach or apricot as well. This has a nice subtle fruity/floral aroma that seems to be saying, "hurry up and drink me and stop worrying about the aroma you beer nerd". Fine, I will.

 

Taste - one big gulp later and I am on to the flavor of this brew. This is light on the palate and slightly dry in the finish. It has some melon flavors along with a bit of yeasty spiciness. Refreshing and not overpowering in any way on the tongue. This will appeal to the masses quite well and provide much needed thirst quenching to participants of many an outdoor activity.

 

Overall - well done. This is a style that I am not one to seek out but this is a good beer. Sometimes your tastebuds need a break from all those strong stouts and hoppy IPAs and its beers like this that can give you that much needed reprieve.

 

Would I buy more of it? - I'd love to venture out to Wyoming and try the other Wind River brews that is for sure. But, until then, this is a brew I wouldn't turn down. 

 

Note - Wind River also plans to can their Pale Ale. Did you know that Cheyenne is the biggest city in Wyoming with just under 60,000 people?

 


Can Scale:
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Wind River Blonde Ale
Style: American Blonde Ale
Brewery: Wind River Brewing Company
City: 
Pinedale, Wyoming  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: February 1st, 2011

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Thursday, January 6th 2011

Double Haul IPA
(Kettlehouse Brewing Company)

Yet another canned brew from the great state of Montana. Do canning breweries outnumber bottling breweries in Montana yet? It's got to be close. I'm looking forward to diving into this one...

From the Kettlehouse site:

"Double Haul® IPA scores big with our hop-headed friends. Of course, the folks at NABA agreed, awarding it a gold medal at the 2008 brewfest. Brewed with lots of hops and a solid body, Double Haul® IPA is a beer lover’s dream. After a couple of Double Hauls you’ll feel like you’re out with your buddies and it’s FISH ON! for both of you. Cascade hops for flavoring and finish provide a mouthy cascade of hoppiness!"

Here we go...

 

Pour - bright golden with some orange and reddish hues. Nice fluffy head atop this very nice looking brew. Plenty of lacing inside the glass and near perfect carbonation levels. 

 

Aroma - plenty of green goodness from the cascade hops. Some dark sugar aromas as well as pineapple and lemons.

 

Taste - Citrus and pine meet with plenty of malty sweetness backing them up. Some grass and hay notes as well. Not an overly complex IPA, but then again many of them aren't. Plenty of hop flavor and very easy drinking. A solid IPA that is for sure.

 

Overall - a nicely put together West Coast style IPA. Its not over the top hoppy and is nicely balanced. 

 

Would I buy more of it? - certainly. This is definitely a beer worth seeking out to give it a try and as with the others Kettlehouse cans, its a quality brew.

 

Note - the term "Double Haul" refers to a fly fishing casting technique designed to add speed and length to a cast. To learn more about this go HERE!

 



Hops Scale:
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Double Haul IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Kettle House Brewing Company
City: 
Missoula, Montana  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Cascade
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 65
Date: January 6th, 2011

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Monday, December 20th 2010

Wee Mac Scottish Ale
(Sun King Brewing Company)

Wee Mac is the third, and most recent, canned release from Sun King Brewing Company out of Indianapolis. These pint-sized cans hit the shelves just over a month ago so be sure to grab some if you see them. With three canned releases in their first year we can't wait to see what Sun King has in store for their sophomore season. Cheers!

From the Sun King site:

"Wee Mac is a Scottish style Brown Ale. Fermented at cooler than normal temperatures to mimic the climate of Scotland. Wee Mac is an easy drinking brown ale that has a nice hazelnut character with rich toffee undertones. Hops are used sparingly in this beer and serve only to help balance the sweetness of the malt."

Here we go...

 

Pour - dark, dark amber brown, almost like unfiltered honey. Some reddish, orange colors glimmer when held to the light. Carbonation levels look spot on and the half inch of off-white head looks quite nice sitting atop this pour.

 

Aroma - sweet. Brown sugar, honey, caramel, stewed malts with some hints of vanilla cream and apple pie.

 

Taste - unfiltered cider, caramelized malts, raw sugar, honey, bran flakes and some subtle vanilla. Definitely toffee and caramel flavors coming into play. This is the type of beer that appeals to lots of folks. A little more oomph than a regular amber or brown ale but still approachable at all levels.

 

Overall - Lots of rich, sweet malty flavors abound. This is a malt lovers delight that is for sure. No mistakes here, just a great brew and a well done version of the style. Great third canned offering from the folks at Sun King! 

 

Would I buy more of it? - definitely. Like their other two canned offerings, Wee Mac is solid and delicious. Sun King has done a great job in their first year! Way to go!

 

Note - If you're wondering what the difference is between a "Wee Heavy or Scotch Ale" and a "Scottish Ale" you are not alone. A "Wee Heavy", or "Scotch Ale", is a stronger, sweeter version of your basic "Scottish Ale". Both styles are malty and sweet with plenty of caramel flavor and can sometimes have smoky undertones. For more on this check out Andy Crouch's write-up on his BeerScribe site...

 

 


Can Scale:
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Wee Mac Scottish Ale
Style: Scottish Ale
Brewery: Sun King Brewing Company
City: 
Indianapolis, Indiana  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.4%
IBUs: 23
Date: December 20th, 2010

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Sunday, December 19th 2010

Buffalo Sweat
(Tallgrass Brewing Company)

With a name like "Buffalo Sweat" and a package like this how can you not be intrigued? This is one of only a handful of canned stouts available (right now anyways) and one that I definitely recommend trying if you get the chance.

From the Tallgrass site:

"We love this beer here at the brewery, and think you will have one of those “I’ve never-tasted-a-beer-like-that” kind of moments when you try it!

What we really like about this beer is the smoothness that brewing with cream sugar brings to the palate. This smoothness balances out the copious quantities of roasted barley used in the brewing process to create a rich, complex, and delicious beer. If you have not been a stout drinker in the past, give this beer a try. It might just change your mind about how dark beers should taste. It tastes so rich, but is surprisingly easy to drink!"

Here we go...

Pour - deep, dark mahogany and coffee-colored with a nice inch of mocha brown head on top.

 

Aroma - coffee grounds, milk chocolate, cocoa, dark chocolate and plenty of dark delicious malty goodness. Wow.

 

Taste - super smooth, almost creamy or velvety in texture. Tons of delicious coffee and cocoa flavors come out and cover the tongue. Nice and sweet but not cloying. The dark, roasty and malty flavors make this a great brew to drink on a cold winter evening. Love that coffee and cocoa combination!

 

Overall - low in alcohol but oh so rich in flavor. Tons of rich chocolate and coffee flavors make this just plain delicious. Another great brew from Tallgrass and definitely worth checking out if you have the chance.

 

Would I buy more of it? - definitely. I've got one more can and I will be sad when I have to say goodbye. 

 

Note - Tallgrass currently cans their IPA, Ale, Kold, Oasis and Buffalo Sweat beers. Cheers!

 


Can Scale:
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Buffalo Sweat
Style: Milk Stout
Brewery: Tallgrass Brewing Company
City: 
Manhattan, Kansas  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.0%
IBUs: 20
Date: December 19th, 2010

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Thursday, December 2nd 2010

Narragansett Porter
(Narragansett Brewing Company)

Once known as Narragansett "Dark", this American-style Porter has been brewed by Narragansett since 1916. This winter marks the first time this seasonal offering has ever been put into 16 oz. pint cans. Like Narragansett "Fest", their fall seasonal, this one has a price point that is hard to pass up $7.99 for 6 x 16 oz. cans! Cheers!

 

From the Narragansett site:

"Gansett Porter offers an extremely approachable craft experience that, unlike many of the other porters on the market, is not overly smoky or bitter. The Narragansett Porter has a deliciously mild chocolate flavor with just a hint of smokiness and hops to balance out the finish.."

Here we go...

 

Pour - deep, dark brown...almost black in appearance with an ultra-rich and thick looking off-white head on top. This ebony treat really looks great! 

 

Aroma - malted milk balls, caramel, Nestle Quik, bitter coffee with whiffs of dark fruit.


Taste - creamy smooth, full-bodied with plenty of rich, malty flavor. Plenty of dark chocolate, cocoa, dark roast coffee and caramel malt as well. I do taste a little of that smokiness they mention in the brewery's description and feel it adds a very nice touch to the finish of this beer. Along with that bit of smokiness comes a nice amount of hop bitterness that comes with the American-style porters. I am impressed by this beer. Another well-done seasonal offering from the folks at Narragansett.

 

Overall - I love porters, especially when they're well-rounded. This one embodies all the flavor profiles I like and also has a creamy mouthfeel, a bitter/smoky finish and is full-bodied and not light on the tongue whatsoever. Lots of rich, heart flavors and perfect for anyone who loves the style or dark beers in general.

 

Would I buy more of it? - I would. Like their "Fest", a six-pack of 16 oz. cans is going for about $8 here in New England. Very affordable for a quality brew.

Note - Some more about this particular beer from Narragansett...

The History: "The Porter has been a part of the Narragansett Brewing Company’s brewing tradition dating all the way back to 1916 (often found under the name “Narragansett Dark” in bars). In fact, the Porter helped ‘Gansett survive Prohibition because the brewery was given a patent by the US Government to brew it for medicinal purposes. Apparently, ‘Gansett Porter was believed to be the cure for whatever ailed you, and doctors would write prescriptions for it to help patients throughout New England with anemia and various other maladies.  Now the Porter is back and better than ever, and you don’t even need a prescription to get it.  So grab a 16oz pint can and enjoy!"

 

       


Can Scale:
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Narragansett Porter
Style: American Porter
Brewery: Narragansett Brewing Company
City: 
Providence, Rhode Island